Jul 30

Evoking a Setting for your Story

Evoking a setting for your story


See: Establishing the setting


Evoking, rather than describing in detail, a setting for you story can be aided by reference to a variety of things.

(In the past we have practiced using buildings and clothes. See: Creating the setting)

This exercise uses the notions of food and drink, and items that are typical of a place or culture.

Food, Restaurant, Menu, Asia, Dinner, Table, Café, Deli


  • 1. In your notebooks, beside each of these foods/drinks jot down a few words that they bring to mind.

Do this quite quickly; jot down your first thoughts.


Paella                               Cockles                      Scrumpy

Spaghetti                          baguette                      Hotpot

Weiner Schnitzel               Moussaka                    Stargazy Pie

Devon cream tea               Rioja                          Bleu d’ Auvergne cheese


  • 2.  In twos or threes, depending on numbers compare your responses and note particularly where there are similarities


  • 3.  Individually, or in your groups think of a few other types of foods/drinks and the places/atmosphere/mood/ feelings they evoke with very little elaboration.

Add a few artifacts, typical items, customs that you could add to the mix/mention. eg, Greek urns, castanets, Exmoor ponies, Viennese waltzes, chopsticks,, olives or kiss-me-quick hats….


Discuss, with the whole group, the responses to the tasks and expand the discussion to which genres some of these food and drink items could appropriately be used for, as a setting device.

Pizza, Vegetarian Pizza, Cheeses, Tomatoes, Pastry

Writing Task
Choose a ‘menu’ and write an opening to a story. Use references to the food and/or drinks in the opening description to set the scene and offer clues to the type of story, the style, mood and atmosphere ….. (15 minutes approx.)
Share and discuss, encouraging members to guess at the type of each story and what the author was attempting to transmit.
In each case pick out any other clues that you noticed, which helped to set the scene eg clothing, climate, features of the landscape which the writer may have included deliberately or instinctively after talking about setting.
Conclude the discussion by summarizing how well the exercise worked and think about what other things you could use in the same way, weather, a landmark, a famous event, dress…….


Category: Group session. Tags:Openings, Observation, Story telling, Power of words

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