Igniting The Fictional Dream: Setting And The Senses

Ryan Matthews, Writer & Editor

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13 Lessons (18m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Writing A New World

    • 3. Writing At Will And On Command

    • 4. Importance Of Place

    • 5. Reading - Borderland By M.F.K. Fisher

    • 6. Picking A Time, Place, And Milieu

    • 7. The Fictional Dream

    • 8. Reading - A Distant Episode By Paul Bowles

    • 9. Igniting The Fictional Dream

    • 10. Writing Your Setting

    • 11. Reading - Under The Volcano By Malcolm Lowry

    • 12. Revising Your Draft

    • 13. Final Thoughts On Setting


About This Class

I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking…Some day, all this will have to be developed, carefully printed, fixed.
—Christopher Isherwood, Goodbye to Berlin

Character—check. Plot—yep. Conflict—of course! Setting?

Setting—it’s an underappreciated element of narrative that has a profound impact on plot and character. Actions have vastly different effects depending on the place, time, and milieu.

In this high-energy class we’ll discuss the importance of setting on kick starting what John Gardner describes as the “fictional dream”—that hypnosis readers know so well when they leave the comfort of their chair to embark on a fictional journey. We’ll look at the value of setting a scene to build a stage and situate characters, making it possible for the reader to concretely visualize drama.

We’ll also work on writing “at will and on command”—an idea that will help overcome any sense of writer's block or lack of inspiration.

All students are encouraged to share their scenes from the writing prompt: To transport a reader to a place you’ve never been before!

This is a class for writers of all levels who are looking to make their fiction more vivid and their stories sing with detail. And, by making writing and rewriting a habit, we will gain mastery and authority over our work—the power to give a narrative life beyond the page.