Making a whole: work for week 2
Present a setting. This is the ‘everyday ordinary’ against which the story or feelings of the piece (it doesn’t matter what genre you are using) are set, and which will in some way be disrupted or undermined or threatened. Try to write about something you know and make the description as sharp as you can, making the things mentioned, not your explanation, create atmosphere and ambience.
Writing this doesn’t mean you will necessarily place it at the beginning of the piece, or that in the final draft you’ll have it all in a passage together (you may want to ‘drip-feed’ it into the text as you go). But it’s still worth doing this groundwork to give yourself a sense of the norms and values of the person’s life, their security, physical or other ‘home’.
WAR AND PEACE (TOLSTOY)
Anna Pavlovna had had a cough for some days. She was, as she said, suffering from la grippe; grippe being then a new word in St. Petersburg, used only by the elite.
All her invitations without exception, written in French, and delivered by a scarlet-liveried footman that morning, ran as follows:
“If you have nothing better to do, Count (or Prince), and if the prospect of spending an evening with a poor invalid is not too terrible, I shall be very charmed to see you tonight between 7 and 10—Annette Scherer
UNDER MILK WOOD (DYLAN THOMAS)
To begin at the beginning:It is Spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched, courters'-and- rabbits' wood limping invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing sea. The houses are blind as moles (though moles see fine to-night in the snouting, velvet dingles) or blind as Captain Cat there in the muffled middle by the pump and the town clock, the shops in mourning, the Welfare Hall in widows' weeds. And all the people of the lulled and dumbfound town are sleeping . . .