Daily Archives: December 10, 2009

Writing Challenge: Sense of Place

Lots of what we are seeing on the YA book shelf is the dystopian novel (like Suzanne Collins wonderful book The Hunger Games) or the goth novel (like Cynthia Leitich Smith’s* most recent book Eternal–review of this book to come next week). Both ideas are based on bits of truth–like all fiction is–and blown up into a legitimate world for the reader.

Sense of place can make a dystopian or goth world become real. Here’s a bit from Smith’s book Eternal.

Tuesday night’s ice storm savaged the trees, breaking limbs, splitting the trunk of a century-old oak.
The paved entry splits into three gravel roads, and I choose the one in the middle, unwilling to step on a grave until I have to. What kind of freaks meet girls in cemeteries?
“Lucy!” I search for the angel statue she mentioned.
As I stray from the path, the historic cemetery is eerie in its silence. A cloud shrouds the moon. I keep going. . .
(Smith, Cynthia Leitich. Eternal. Massachusetts: Candlewick Press, 2009, page 23.)

Look at the description. Can you see the picture Smith paints? How does she do it? What words does she use? What verbs? What senses are used in these few words?

Your Writing Exercise:
In less than 250 words, see what you can do with a dystopian or goth setting. Using the five senses, paint a picture for us. Make it real. Then, if you want, post your piece.

*Author interview tomorrow.

P.S. Are you an author? A reader? A non-reader? We want to interview you. You will have to talk about your personal problems and give out your bank account information but it is well worth it. Let us know if you’re interested.

P.P.S. We are also graciously accepting book donations for our review pile!


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