Writing Tip 42: How To Set The Scene

This is a topic that I actually like to describe. I like to know what is in the room where the character is located what are they doing who is in there with them and what is that character doing and where they are located in reference to the character and the objects in the room basically everything. Well, not everything, I don’t need to know where the specific location of the stapler is located and how many papers are stacked on the desk but I do want to picture myself in the scene when I read about the scene.

The first thing I do is picture myself in a blank room and fill it in with the important things. For example, lets picture that the character entered an office building. The first thing I do is enter through the door and describe what I see. I used to work in an ophthalmologist office so I picture in my head and describe that location. Let’s pretend that the MC’s name is Celia and she needs to go to the eye doctor and her mother is driving her.

business care clean clinic
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

‘I dread going to the doctor but the eye doctor’s office is not so bad compared to the dentist’s office. I prefer an eye exam over a dental exam at any time. Mom packed my little brother and me in the back seat of her red faded rusty 4-door sedan along with all her arts and craft material. We have to place a towel and a sheet on the small cramped seating arrangement to avoid getting stained from the residue of her crafts she takes to work in the morning.

Good thing that the doctor’s office is 20 minutes from our house because sitting cramped to my teething slobbering baby brother Tito is not amusing. Instead of looking out the window enjoying the ride I have to watch Tito so that he won’t stuff things into his mouth and choke.

We finally arrive at the doctor’s office located in a small shopping center with several clothing stores, coffee shops, restaurants, and vendors on the sidewalk selling homemade trinkets. I hop out of the car stretching my body while my mom unstraps Tito. The opaque glass door is opened before we are able to enter as another patient was leaving the office and we are welcomed with a sweet vanilla scent. The cream-colored walls are decorated with posters of children and adults being happy and showcasing their glasses. I want to be that happy with my selection as well. The receptionist seats behind a tall desk as you enter the office to the right. Behind her is a large file cabinet area with a lot of manila folders. I want to look around at the frames that are on display to pick out the best glasses to show off in school but I’m stuck with babysitting duties. Mom gives the receptionist my insurance card and I take Tito with me to sit in the waiting area on the green chairs arranged around a small coffee table with several magazines which are not interesting to a thirteen-year-old girl.’

close up of eyeglasses
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I hope you were able to see the scene with the few details I provided for you. Assuming that we have a backstory and know what Celia, her mother, and her baby brother look like, we can visualize how she feels, what she has to do, what her mother’s doing, what Tito is doing, and what she sees once in the doctor’s office. I also explained the scene in a happy way to let readers know of her pleasant experience at the doctors. BTW I just made this story up while writing this post.

I have a strong point in describing as I said in my previous post I tend to use a lot of description and often times I have to go back and skim down on the descriptive scene as it can slow down the reading and mellow down the scene.

However, during a fight scene or an action scene, it is highly important if not a sin if you include descriptions about every punch move, every kick, every emotion with those actions, and to include a dialogue amidst all that is so wrong. That would be boring and the action will be lost with extra crap readers don’t really need to know.

Provide descriptions to specific items that are relevant to the story. If in my example I would’ve added the cracks on the floor tiles and how old the place looked it would take away from the story and it doesn’t have any relevance to the story. Readers need enough to be entertained not bored. Set the scene so that the readers can place themselves in the scene but not to the point where every item and its precise location is described in the room or area you’re setting the scene.

If you have any other ideas or a better way you describe your scene let me know. The writing community is a learning community and I like to learn. Comment below and teach me a few things or three.

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