Funny Fruit by Grant and Gary Reed


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What’s Important to me When Writing a Setting by Grant Reed

Recently I have been helping some younger writers with their work, critiquing and giving pointers, and a couple of times, I have been asked how to write a believable setting.

It doesn’t matter what you are writing, every paragraph needs to be well thought out and orderly. For me, I usually work from point form notes and I know what objectives I need to cover in that scene. I never write a scene as filler, I always have a reason for that scene being in the book, whether it is to give a clue to the mystery, or to divulge something new about a character. Every scene will take place in its own setting.

As I write a setting I always start with what I am seeing (through that particular characters eyes) and then I note the things that would be of interest at that location. If you note some smaller mundane things that only that character would notice, it can also help to make the setting more believable.

After I have described what the character is seeing, I then describe how the character is feeling. This can include both physical reactions from the weather or from some other trigger you have described at that location as well as their emotional state brought on by the setting. Don’t forget to include sounds and smells to have your setting come alive.

An important thing to remember is to not overdo it. A little description goes a long way, but too much and you will bore your reader. Make sure your characters do and say things that remain true to who they are, within that setting.

As I am writing this post, I also have one of my novels open as I was doing some editing. Just for fun, I thought it would be interesting to paste in here the exact paragraph I have open so we can have a look at it, to see if it flows, and what we can determine from it:

The two soldiers walked down the darkened street, their thickly padded boots crunching along the snow covered cobbles. Passing one of the brightly lit street lamps, they carried on another twenty paces until they were once more immersed in the quiet shadows. Denn turned to Hal, as the older man lit his briar and proceeded to puff out a cloud of sweet smelling smoke. “He shouldn’t be long, Hal. This is where he said to meet him. Right here beside the bakery.”

Nodding to the younger man, Hal leaned against the stone housing where the oven’s heat was still confined in the wall. Wiping the frost from his thick moustache, he turned to the blonde youth beside him. “I told you the snow was coming,” he said and pulled the collar of his jacket up. “And I think it’s here to stay too.”

As you can see from the above paragraphs, I like to use dialogue to break up the description of the setting. Every time I sneak in some detail, I remind you it’s a cold, dark night. By spacing this narrative throughout the dialogue you can squeeze in a lot of information, but it doesn’t feel as rushed as if you place it all in the opening paragraph. It will also keep the feeling of the setting alive throughout the paragraphs, and remind the reader where we are.

I guess the most important thing is to keep it as realistic as you can. If it’s cold, tell the reader that by having a character pull his jacket up to block the wind. If it stinks, tell us exactly what it smells like and what the character thinks of that smell.

It’s not easy to write a realistic scene, but if you paint us a decent setting, have the characters react in believable ways, and intersperse the dialogue with interesting descriptions, you will be well on your way. The more you write, the easier this will become. Have fun with it!

After ninety years of warring, exploring, and saving the realm, brothers Yarl and Fonn, must take up the title of Master again. If they don’t, someone else will surely steal all the fame, glory, and fertile women. How will they ever train new apprentices, save the kingdom, and still find time to fit in that extra order of chicken wings? Make no mistake, the old Masters have a lot to pass on and only a short timeframe to do it.

Will young Garrett flourish as an apprentice Sworvei? Can his partner Azilda master the ‘Nesting Nightingale’? And who in hell invited the ogres?

Join this rag-tag group of ‘Protectors of the Realm’ to see if they can pull off the biggest upset of the Continental Games, by saving young King Renli from the clutches of the evil First General.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“His name is James Lacie. Once he was one of the top alchemists in Cassadia. He was highly sought after for his many time-saving inventions and numerous elixirs. At any given time his shop carried wart remover, air fresheners, love potions, and something closer to that which you seek.”

Miss Mia turned back to her mirror and dabbed at her rosy cheeks again, humming to herself. Milo reached to his belt and produced a small leather bag. Opening the pouch he emptied it into the palm of his left hand. A pair of opal earrings spilled forth. “Closer to that which I seek, you say?” he inquired.

“Yes, a chemical fruit that when eaten would unknowingly render the eater susceptible to suggestion. A great party favourite a few years back. The unsuspecting victim would eat the fruit and was then told to cluck like a chicken or act like a coconut. Its effects would sometimes last the duration of a good party.”

“Yes, the gag would be much funnier if the victim was unsuspecting,” mused Milo. “Tell me, where can I find this James Lacie’s shop?”

“He no longer has one,” replied Mia. “It had something to do with a potion mix up. The king’s cousin ended up falling in love with a sheep, as I recall. The royal family was not impressed, and you know how the Chronicle can be when it gets its hands on what it deems to be a front page story. Ruined the man’s career, or so I’m told. Anyway Mr. Lacie has been on the lam ever since.”

About the Authors:Grant Reed has a background in business management, computer programming, and computer networking. He would much rather be out fishing though, so he spends his time writing and exploring the lakes in his back yard of Canada. He lives in Lively Ontario, Canada with his wife Robin, and their two children Aidan and Megan.

Gary Reed, his wife Kerry and their two children, Hannah and Kailey also live in Lively Ontario, Canada. And yes, he spends his time exploring the countryside too. Photography, fishing, and playing with his girls are amongst his interests.

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  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. Thanks for hosting.

  3. Patrick Siu says:

    I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.

  4. Terrific post! I enjoyed the excerpt. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Thanks guys.

  6. What are your ambitions for your writing career?

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