ROW80 here I come. By next Wednesday I will have the first completed draft of this WIP. Cross my heart. I'd cross my fingers too, but I need them to type.
And here's a special boost to my ROW80 writing buds Sheri Larson, Susan Kaye Quinn, Margo Berendsen They are cranking out the good prose and should get some kind of award for all their hard work.
I've learned how important setting is to the tone, the character development, the plot, the whole darned story. I don't mean you have to write pages of "description," and make the reader plod through that to get to the story. I mean you have to carefully choose the place where the action happens, where the people live and interact. You have to let the reader see the characters interact with the settings they inhabit.
So first, nailing the setting without slowing the pace.
Let's say you are writing a story about a girl who is very privileged and then suddenly has almost nothing. That would be my second book, The Princess of Las Pulgas. Sorry, I know this is kind of a shameless plug, but it's a story I know pretty well and in which setting plays an important role.
Here's something about Channing. The rich side of town. I needed to make this town especially attractive because when my MC leaves, I wanted it to be wrenching. But how much description did I need? Here's one bit about her home and another about her high school.
I point toward the two-story house across the street, home for as long as I can remember. The wide path winds to the main entrance, and the leaded glass panels in the door glow from the entry lights Mom leaves on until we’re all home. Inside, the vaulted ceilings cast soft shadows in the living room and at the back, I see someone, probably Mom, in the kitchen.