Setting #3 – Results

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Gwangali Beach. Photo Source: Me!

See other Writing Exercises from this blog.

On Tuesday, I wanted you to actually go somewhere different and write about that real-life setting.

I was intentionally vague about where you could go – a park, doctor’s office, beach, rooftop – as long as it’s a place you don’t go very often (or better yet, a new place not too far from home).

Even though I work close to Gwangali Beach, it’s rare for me to get much time there. It was a nice treat to have time to sit before a meeting of the Busan Writer’s Group began.

Here’s the setting description I came up with. I tried to include sensory info along with a general mood.

The low waves can’t drown out the constant running of car engines on the road behind. I can’t lose myself in this crescent slice of beach, with the city wrapped around so closely. Its growling engines and blaring horns are a few long strides behind, and the island of sand is not wide enough to fully escape into the sound of small waves breaking against land. Even the horizon will not let me forget the city, with the great suspension bridge stretching over the natural sky, ferrying an endless stream of cars across a dimming sky.

The sun sets behind me, and I sigh as I brush sand from a bench. The feel of the coarse grains spurs a thought, and I look closer at the sand under my black Doc Martens. Dry brown, it breaks apart quickly as I scoop with testing fingers. There is no sign of the earlier rain, no clumps of dark brown or half-dry sand to tell of the rain that fell for most of the day. The hours of sun, brief as they were, were enough to remove the memory of rain.

The evening wind brushes a tiny patter of sand against my cheek. I turn to see children, tossing sand as they laugh, oblivious to the wind that chills as it billows my jacket. I take shelter in the jacket, clutching it close as I sit. As the children play, their Korean falls in my limited understanding, and I am glad to know their playful words.

The wind picks up, adding salty flair strong enough to drown the constant exhaust. For a moment, the air is clean, and within that snapshot, I can believe I’ve left the city behind. The moment ends at the sound of my alarm, a light melody playing from my phone. I look at the display. Friends and fellow writers will meet amid the grinding of espresso machines and the chatter of small talk. I rise from my seat, ready to leave the slice of beach and return to the city around it.

I hope you’ll share your setting as well!

Setting #3 – Let’s go somewhere different

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Alas, my own brick of a laptop is far too heavy and lasts all of 1 hour, if I’m lucky. Image from Wikimedia Commons

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See other Writing Exercises from this blog.

I’m being quite literal with the title of this post – let’s actually go somewhere freaking different this week!

I’m serious, go somewhere with your pen and paper, or your portable device of choice (I have a 7-year-old brick of a laptop that can’t go an hour without juice, so I’ll go for the paper option). Go somewhere you don’t usually go, or better yet somewhere you’ve never been.

I want you to describe the scene around you, using as many of the five senses as you can. You can write this ‘in character’ by imagining one of your story characters is in the location, describing it as they’d see it, or you can do a straight-up description of the scene in your own words, without worrying about connecting it to a narrative. It’s really up to you.

I’ll refer to an example of my own work where I really did go to the location described to set the scene:


Daniel walked along the stony path before the temple. The doors of the main shrine were open as he passed before them, allowing a glimpse of a golden Buddha with colorful paper lanterns hung above his head. Daniel stepped on the low stone stair just outside the frame, a sharp sandalwood scent filling his lungs as he examined a bowl with sticks of incense set just before the Buddha. No different than a one–night stand? No. Of course I won’t do it. Shaking his head, he turned away from the Buddha, walking around the small pond set into the center of the stony ground before the temple. He allowed himself a last look at the peaceful place before descending the tree–lined path down the mountain.


That temple is based on Cheonbulsa, a temple that’s five minutes from my house. I had my character Daniel stand outside the temple and describe it, though I admit, there could have been more senses involved. I got smell and some sights in there, but I could go all out and get the clacking of the wooden bells, or the feel of smooth, worn wood under your feet after you remove your shoes to meditate in the temple.

For Thursday, I’ll go somewhere I don’t normally go and try a similar scene-setting piece. I encourage you to do the same!

 

 

Part 3 of “The Faces They Wore” now up at my other site #amwriting

In case any readers here weren’t aware, I’m sharing some previously published short fiction.

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Go have a look over at my other site, where you can read Painted Blue Eyes and The Faces They Wore – both pieces that appear in books by the Busan Writing Group.

Click the links below for more info:

Painted Blue Eyes

The Faces They Wore

An excerpt from “The Faces They Wore”, my part of “Nothing Too Familiar”

I’d like to share an excerpt from my work in Nothing Too Familiar – Vignettes of Korea.

More about this book can be found at the Busan Writing Group website.

This book can be bought in digital form at Smashwords or Amazon Kindle, or you can get a print copy from me or any other member of the Busan Writing Group.

The Faces They Wore explores the collision of two very different worlds within Korea – that of a Korean woman whose circumstances have forced her into prostitution, and the comparatively privileged life of a foreign English teacher.

I was supposed to read this part of the story at Wordz Only on February 28, but my wife and kids were sick that night. Instead, I present it here:


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