(Image courtesy of kpgolfpro on Pixabay.)
Yesterday, I spoke excitedly with a work friend about a short story I’m working on. It’s a story which I’ve had to rewrite completely, because the first draft was entirely abysmal — even beyond the point of rescue.
The current draft of the story takes place in Florence. I was explaining this to my work friend, who astutely asked me: “Why Florence?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “I just like it.”
Later, I was reflecting on the first draft, comparing it to the current draft, and I realized one of the major reasons the first draft didn’t succeed was the setting. The first draft was set in a small mountain ski town during off season, where the events of the story would not have been logically possible. Oh, technically they were possible, but it’s a stretch to imagine it. But in Florence, the magic and beauty of the city adds a grandeur and sense of heightened reality. Anything is possible in this magnificent city. The action of the story thus makes much more sense. Anything can — and does — happen.
This just served as a reminder to me about the importance of setting. I often work with interior and intimate domestic settings, so sometimes I forget the importance of that, and what the setting does within the story. It can make such a dramatic difference that the setting can literally determine if a story works, or doesn’t.
I’ve since finished that current draft of the story, and I’ll be revising it over the next week or so. But it’s already taught me a lot, and I look forward to seeing what the revisions teach me.