Seven Tears Into the Sea
       Phantom Stallion Series

Terri Talks

Terri Farley
Wabi Sabi

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

SEER (Writing Tip #3)

Dear Readers,
Do you have a talent for gazing into the future and looking back on the past?
Try this for the story you're writing:

Draw a time line for your SETTING. Extend it before and after the span of your book.

I've never written a story which took place right where I live now, but if I did..

I'd consider the the old logging pond down the hill-- did loggers camp here? Did they have a little cabin or tents? Did it smell like campfire biscuits in the morning or did they tromp down to a camp cookhouse?
I'd think about the first train robbery in the West which happened on the tracks a half mile from here. A historian told me the robbers (one on a red horse named Cockadoodle) probably rode over my land before they split up a mile from where my house now sits, to confuse the Wells Fargo detectives pursuing them. Some of the gold they stole -- destined to pay Virginia City miners -- has never been found and I think about it whenever I dig in the garden.
The Donner Party camped in the apple grove I pass when I go walking with a friend. Did they wander as far as what's now my fenceline, hunting for deer that were still plentiful here, but would vanish in the snowstorm up the hill?
Before the Donners, Native American camped along the arm of the Truckee River where I take my dog to splash on hot days.
So all those things would go on my setting's past, and then there'd be the story -- if I was wrting a contemporary story...and what would happen here after my story ended?
Houses and businesses grow closer every day, water and trees disappear...but the time line is imaginary. It's my story and I might just create a happy ending for this little piece of earth.
Do this for your setting, whether it's real or exists in your imagination, and I bet your story will be better for it!

Have fun,

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Posted by Terri Farley @ 8:04 AM

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