Monday, March 5, 2012
Magic ingredients for the perfect setting
Five Senses. What does your setting look like? That is an obvious one. But go further. What does it smell like, sound like, feel like? What does the air taste like?
Room Conflict. In theater, room conflict is a term that basically means whatever way the actual room the characters are in is escalating the conflict. So, for example, if the air conditioning is broken and its sweltering hot, or the neighbors are blasting Eminem and you can't quite hear what the other person is saying, or it smells like rotted milk or there's a pipe leaking. A couple trying to decide who's going to take the kids this weekend is interesting. It's much more interesting if the house is being painted and they have to talk around an eavesdropping painting crew.
Inescapable. When you give your characters a conflict and put them in a place they can't leave, it forces exciting things to happen. Stuck them in an elevator or a car or a family dinner. Especially family dinners. Those can be rife with dramatic tension.
Amp it up. I'm definitely guilty of having too many scenes set in a kitchen. But when possible I try to move them to grocery stores or baseball stadiums or somewhere where its easier for the setting to play a more exciting role.
Here is a list of potential places for you to set up your scenes:
On a boat
School for the blind
What do you think? Think these might help? What other ideas would you add for making your setting fantabulous?