The Flat Table of the Plain and then some.

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Whoop! We are back and drinking waaaaay too much coffee. Or is it too much? Hmmm. I don’t think two pots is too much. If I drank it in under three hours…that might indicate a problem, but I made it to four hours so that makes it okay. Right? I might be a little hyper right now but that’s good and I am getting so much done and I may have to go back and fix things cuz I zipped through them, but I can fix it. Maybe. Okay, I need to focus on this. **Breathe** Alrighty friends, run along and fill your cuppas with whatever get’s your engine primed and a nibble to get you moving. I will be out on the reading rug trying to figure out the page number we are on in my copy of The Anatomy of Story by John Truby. Don’t forget your copy!

I am so thankful for autocorrect right now. I can’t imagine what this post would look like if I used my dictation app. Can we say Hot Mess?

We left off on explaining natural settings for our stories. Up next was:

The Plain

“The rain in Spain Stays mainly on the plain.” – Audrey Hepburn from My Fair Lady

We are talkin’ wide open spaces right here. It is almost freeing in its feeling. Typically, the stories set in the plains cover topics like freedom, equality, and rights of the common man. These things are not without cost, of course. These can be life and death struggles to gain the success your characters are reaching for.

Downside to the plain? In most stories only the poor live in these areas. Unless of course you can afford to live in a mansion on some mountain top somewhere. So jealous!

Bear in mind the plains are standard to westerns like: Days of Heaven, Dances with Wolves, In Cold Blood, A Farewell to Arms, and Field of Dreams.

River

This is power in a setting. It provides a path to be followed. There are dangers along the way, just because it is water. There is a physical element as well. Not only must you control the vessel you are using for travel, but swimming will take place at some point.

The river is a road to somewhere or away from somewhere. This helps your story flow (Get it? ) smoothly because everywhere the characters land is because it is on said river. A river can also hold emotional value in a story. A place to clear the mind or remember moments from your character’s past. Fishing with their friend or parent. Boating with their love. Learning to swim. Losing someone on the water.

Stories with the river as a main feature: Huckleberry Finn, Deliverance, Heart of Darkness, Apocalypse Now, A River Runs Through It, and The African Queen.

Weather

Weather can offer a powerful physical response to an emotion. No, really.

  • Lightning and thunder: Passion, terror, death
  • Rain: Sadness, loneliness, boredom, coziness
  • Wind: Destruction, desolation
  • Fog: Mystery
  • Sun: Happiness, fun, freedom, but also corruption hidden below the surface.
  • Snow: Sleep, serenity, quiet, death

Try to avoid these traps. See if you can use the weather in your stories in a new way.

Man-made Spaces

These spaces are the saving grace to the writer. This allows us to create a setting for our society. These are physical representations of our MC and where they live within a community. The problem for us werd nerds is how to put that on the page. We have to learn how to build a space our MC feels comfortable in.

The House

This is where the man-made space begins. Our homes, the home of our characters, where those homes fit within a society. The home is where we build who we are and can be a huge center of drama. <– I know this firsthand. LOL. This is a place of intimacy for us, the character, and our audience. This is an opportunity to design the home to its fullest dramatic potential. Draw those holes in the wall, torn carpet, or the grandeur of the dining table.

Safety versus Adventure

The home is the center of safety. Its where you go to feel welcome, safe, and free. It is the cradle we seek for comfort. But it can also represent the opposite for your hero and opponent. Either way, the home is the foundation of the character’s creation. The home can build the strength in the hero and the anger in your opponent.

Ground versus Sky

 The house has roots. It holds its place and shows it is immoveable. But it can build upward to reach the sky. The house is terrestrial. It hugs the ground but reaches for the stars the higher it goes.

The Warm House

This is not the mansion on the hillside. This is the tiny, cozy, little house tucked in a safe grove somewhere. But does it have to be tiny? No, a larger home can be loving and safe. Writers describe this as a buzzing atmosphere. Where there are a bunch of people thriving together. It is a perfect community within the walls. The power for the reader is allowing them to feel like they are home within the pages. It reminds us of a sweeter, simpler time in our lives. This is the place we return to when they need to feel accepted for who they are without question.

The Terrifying House

This is the total opposite of the warm house. Completely opposite. Where the smell makes you nauseous. The sounds scare you and just standing in the kitchen makes your skin crawl. Horror stories are based here. Abuse, kidnapping, trafficking…horrible things happen. This is a gothic hulk of a building with looming darkness. Now, you could create a horror house that looks like every other house on the block. It can have the perfect lawn and pretty flowers, but still feel wrong in every way.  

Cellar versus Attic

The graveyard versus creation. Bodies are buried in the basement/cellar and art is imagined in the attic. The cellar is where bad acts are hatched. This is the darkest part of the home where the darkest ideas exist. The attic, in most stories, holds the opposite feeling. I don’t really agree with this idea. I see the princess locked in the tower when you talk about the attic. How is this a bright and airy atmosphere when you are held prisoner?  I can see horror stories in each area. Either place, things are hidden. Where secrets live. Be willing to see the darkest corners and the light in each location.

The Road

This is the opposite of the house. The house brings you in and offers safety where the road is open to explore. The house is a box, and the story is locked within the walls. The road is a beginning. It is a starting place for adventures, myths to play out, and allows a story to grow mile after mile. The hero/MC or opponent can grow and change along the journey.

** This was a long one, but I wanted to finish up this section. Sorry, not sorry. We will take a look at a few different things next. So, we have: Story World Technique: The Vehicle and Combining Natural Setting with the City.

Until then…

Please remember that I am not trying to write this book for you word for word. I am skipping a lot of detail. I highly suggest you purchase the book and read between the lines.

Polish your sparkle and keep twirling.

Find joy. Be joy. Enjoy.

I’m always looking for new friends!

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Published by Ticia Rani

I am...interesting. I am a writer, dreamer, mom, wife, veteran, friend, villain, and the wearer of many hats, but I don't look good in hats- go figure. I LOVE TO WRITE. I want to tell stories. I want to make you laugh, cry, and scare the crap out of you, and make you ask "why the hell did you do that?" I want to make you cheer my characters on or want to shake the crap out of them for things they say and/or do. I want to bring you along for the ride. Ready? Set?...READ!!!