It was a dark and stormy night.

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"He treats us to "a singularly dreary tract of country," to "a few rank sedges" and "white trunks of decayed trees," to "the precipitous brink of a black and lurid tarn," so that we're ready for the "bleak walls" of the house with its "vacant eye-like windows" and its "barely perceptible fissure" zigzagging its way down the wall right down to "the sullen waters of tarn."  Never perhaps have landscape and architecture and weather merged as neatly with mood and tone to set a story in motion (Foster 166)." 


I LOVE THIS QUOTE.  Honestly, writing would be nothing without the setting.  Your geography and placement build up the scene. It preps the reader for what's about to happen next.  In addition to that, it also explains the culture, dialect (slang), clothing, attitude etc.  We all know that when we read southern literature, we hear that definite slang.  William Faulkner was famous for that, especially in his piece "Barn Burning." Where the story takes place is such a crucial part of the development of a story, and I think that people overlook its relevance.


The girl walked down the dimly lit sidewalk, just as a layer of fog had began to wrap itself around her waist.  Get the drift?  Something bad is most likely going to happen if you're alone...especially if its dark and foggy.  I mean the girl has no chance.  How do we know this? Whether it's from common sense, or habit, it's all about placement.  All about the geography.




Greta Carroll said:

Exactly. Geography is everything, be it in a movie, a play, or a book. I like your own example of the girl in the fog. It is part of human nature to instinctively feel dread in certain situations. It is preprogrammed in us to feel an aversion to things like bad weather and fog (probably because we can’t control them). How many times have you been alone in the dark, outside and felt the skin on the back of your neck prickle, even if there wasn’t anything there? Horrible visions naturally pop into our minds, just as certain ideas come to our minds when we think of the seasons. A lot of a writer’s ability to make literature so interesting to his/her readers is how he/she develops our already existent emotions. It really makes me realize being writer requires not just skills as a writer, but deeper skills in psychology and sociology. A writer need to know what makes their readers tick and why.

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