Thoughts and Inspiration for Creative Writers

-from Chrysalis Editorial

90 Days to Your Novel: Day 5

Posted on | July 20, 2011 | 2 Comments

All about setting

In Sarah Domet’s fifth day assignment on setting there are four parts, which I’ve worked on over the course of a week, life having finagled its way into obstructing a more rigorous schedule. Okay, that’s another excuse, but if only I could share with you all the barriers and demands, not the least of which has been work, and other stupid things I fill up my days with, like inviting a writers’ group over for the monthly meeting. (Yes, it was high time that I hosted the meeting, but between getting ready for it and then having it and then cleaning up, it took up 2/3 of my working day!!! And then I had a haircut!)

This assignment had to do with setting. 4 parts!

1) Choose 3 characters and describe where they live;

2) describe a favorite place of each of these characters;

3) write a scene that reflects the mood of the character; and

4) research time period and then write a scene, (which I provide you an example of here).

Lots of good stuff, but again the four assignments took several days. One thing I notice, however, is that each assignment spawns new ideas (plot and other) for the story, continues to help me develop the characters, and just generally gets me into the mood to write. (Thank you, Sarah!)

Assignment Background: main character Phoebe is heading to school, off to her first day of high school (ninth grade) and has a flashback of the previous school year (this was already written):

She could still hear the punishing insults after Bethany had grabbed her thermal lunch bag and dumped its contents onto the cafeteria table before everyone. Two sandwiches slathered with peanut butter and jelly, a container of yogurt, a banana, an apple, a Snickers bar and two Oreos. The girls around her pointed and laughed. “Gee, Phoebe, eat much?!” And then they’d captured the attention of a few boys wandering by with their trays, including Jake, Phoebe’s crush, and they’d joined in the hazing.

Here’s the scene written for the assignment:

Phoebe had wanted to die. Instead, she turned bright red, even brighter than her coral-colored hair, and tears sprang to her eyes. Then she rushed from the table and headed to the girls’ smelly bathroom. In the last stall, the one along the back wall, which someone had defiled with the words “Susie slut,” she sank to a crouch and sobbed. And that’s when it happened. Without thinking, she’d withdrawn a paper clip from her pocket, and began fiddling with it, untwisting it until one end jutted out like a tiny dagger. She’d taken the instrument and run the sharp metal across the inside of her thigh, pushing it hard until droplets of blood surfaced.

What had surprised her most was the relief that flooded through her body. The ragged cut absorbing her pain. When she felt in control of her emotions, she tore off some toilet paper, wiped her eyes and dabbed at the blood, watching the bright red color spread onto the tissue.

I researched “cutting” as a form of self-injury. I’m trying to establish mood in this scene as well, though I’m not entirely sure I’ve accomplished that. Well, it’s a start.

Let me hear your thoughts, readers. Whaddayathink?

p.s. I’m on Day 10, but got behind on posting my blogs…so hopefully I’ll post more over the next couple of days. Stay tuned


2 Responses to “90 Days to Your Novel: Day 5”

  1. Acie
    September 16th, 2015 @ 6:40 pm

    Melissa MiltzSection 66381.What do you wish that you had been told at the start of this class, to help you succeed?I think it would have been hefpull to know how much time would be involved in taking this class and how crucial a time-management plan would be. I didn’t realize how different this class would be from Calc I and that I would need to dedicate even more time to studying for exams, as well as completing Webwork and OpenLab assignments. I might have not taken on such a heavy course load this semester had I known how demanding this class would be. 2.Choose one topic in the course that is especially challenging. Identify it, and give advice to students trying to master that topic.One topic that I found particularly challenging was that of “infinity”. Since it’s difficult to visualize something that has no bounds, working with it took getting used to. Sometimes, in order to help me figure out what certain expressions containing “infinity” meant, I would enter the expression into my calculator, but instead of “infinity” I entered a very large number, like 1,000,000,000. Then I would do that a second time, but with an even larger number (like adding another three zeros). For “negative infinity” I would use a similar method and enter in a number like .00000000001, and keep adding zeros for each iteration. This method helped me observe the trend of the expression so that I could more easily understand how to answer the question with regards to “infinity”.3.What is the most important prior knowledge (not taught in the class) that you need in order to succeed? Why is it important?This seems to be the popular answer, but it really is true! The most important prior knowledge to have is probably that of derivatives. Since derivatives are the basis for doing integrals, they are key. Similarly, it’s very important to remember the chain and quotient rules, as they come back to haunt you. Not only that, but remembering and understanding the idea behind them can help understand certain methods of taking integrals.

  2. Vithya
    October 3rd, 2015 @ 4:40 pm

    Dear Professor, what I would have and should have done brofee this class, was to sit in on a calculus one class brofee I took this class. My situation is a little different; I graduated back in 1983 from DeVry Technical Institute with an Associate’s degree in Electronic Engineering Technology. I did well in calculus one, not so well in calculus two, but I passed and even passed differential equations. Because I didn’t do well in calculus two, I had to take it again. I should have been more prepared, I believe I understood more in calculus one than two this semester. I worked and studied often and very hard for calculus two, but not being very well prepared and under pressure as far as time for each exam has cause me to be less than my best. The most challenging part of the class was integration, especially by parts, again not being properly prepared worked against me. My best advice is to pay attention very closely in calculus one from day one; get all the concepts. Then take calculus two directly behind it. If there is a summer between then you should go over your notes for calculus one once or twice a week to stay fresh for the fall. Also remember calculus two is a whole different ball game than calculus one, it is more detailed based and requires much more ingenuity and manipulation than calculus one.What can’t be taught in the class, but is important, is the math you have learned your whole life, addition, subtraction, fractions, exponents, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and finally the class you take brofee calculus one, pre calculus. Pre calculus, basically takes you through a little of everything. Most of all do not be scared, stay in the attack mode from day one, and don’t get depressed when things seen to be a little lost.

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