Writing a sense of place according to the Internet


I have to confess that I struggle with creating a vivid sense of place sometimes. Usually when the setting is relatively mundane – some town, some house, someone’s back garden. To help me overcome this weakness, I’ve looked at what the Internet has to say about creating a vivid world.

Why does sense of place matter?

It is the vivid and breathtaking “reality” of Middle-earth that makes Lord of the Rings work. Without it, you have a poorly written story about a bunch of characters wandering around and getting into trouble. The same is true for our own writing too.

Why is setting important? Mastering writing time and place

Use fewer words, not more

When I started this research, I assumed that I needed many more words to paint a good picture of the world my fiction is set in. This is not the case for a masterful sense of place.

The apex of our art is to suggest everything with a single, well chosen, word. Beyond that word, we can show the characters interacting with the world around them (show, don’t tell).

The more words we use to describe the setting, the slower the pace. So, like poets, we need to say as much as possible with as few words as we can. Here, at any rate, it seems words should be treated as an expensive premium.

Transport me somewhere new

may the muse be with youWhen telling a story we are trying to take people somewhere else using only words. This, I can tell you, is hard. I have no words of sage advice for you other than “good luck, may the muse be with you.”

Don’t let that stop you. Keep trying. Keep telling stories and trying to take me away to new worlds.

This is where I stop and hand over to you.

  • What are your tips of sense of place?
  • Do you find making the location vivid hard or easy?
  • Which books demonstrate a sense of place best?

Use the comments and share your insights.

Advice on writing better


I could give you advice on writing better (in general) but as I am still learning, here is what the experts are saying.

We recently asked what makes a good writer? Here are some tips (mostly from other people) on how you can be a better at writing.

Writing better sentences

writing betterHow to craft better sentences, Copy Blogger. Three great suggestions that can be summarised as:

  1. Consider your sentence in context.
  2. Edit, dits, and edit some more.
  3. Look stuff up to be certain you are using that word right.

My summary here has not done a great article justice. You should read it.

You might also want to check out:

I find Copy Blogger to be consistently helpful and you should probably subscribe.

Writing better essays

When it comes to essay writing Oxford Summer School should know what they are talking about. They have published a list of six practical tips for writing better essays. The first is that old standby that all writers should know – read good examples in your field.

How to Write Better Essays: 6 Practical Tips

Writing better female characters

One of the areas the areas that we looked at in depth was how to write compelling female characters. It is a big topic and we had a lot to say. If you write fiction, this is a post you need to see.

How to write interesting and compelling female characters

General tips for writing better

Life Hacker has a list of 10 tips for writing better. The tips focus on ways to stay organised, stay focused, and reduce avoidable mistakes. If I had to sum it up: Make notes about what you want to say, remember why you want to say it, and check that you have really said it well. There’s more to the list than that, obviously.

If you cannot trust the Oxford Dictionary people on writing better, you cannot trust anyone. Their top tips for better writing is worth the few minutes it will take to read.

Avoid these hack writing techniques and your writing will definitely improve.

What are your tips for better writing?

Let us know your tips on better writing. Do you have a life hack or technique that has improved your skill as a writer?

  • Do you have a life hack or technique that has improved your skill as a writer?
  • Are there tools you use that make you better at writing?
  • What helps you get better at writing?