ArticlesHow To Evoke A Sense of Place

By Mixital
How To Evoke A Sense of Place

Part of bringing a fictional world alive is in creating the world you imagine for your readers. Try including a great description of a place in your next piece of writing.

Here are our seven top tips on writing about a place:

  1.  Give your reader a place. Don't just say "in a classroom" or "on an alien planet", tell them what the room or landscape is like.
  2. Start by either thinking about your place from a close-up, like a half-drunk cup of tea abandoned on a table, and zooming out to the rest of the room. Or start by thinking in wide-screen, "London in the rain", and getting tighter and tighter into your setting.
  3. Try and create a sense of atmosphere, describe a place with more than one sense.
  4. Trust your reader's imagination, don't write out a floor plan, readers don't care about facts unless they're essential to your plot.
  5. Consider using your environment as an addition to the action, so it adds to the action or mood you're hoping to evoke. You don't have to go for the obvious, a kiss can happen in a living room but also at a bus stop in the rain, by a broken-down car, at the top of a mountain… Make your action and place work together.
  6. Start out with some great nouns which will describe your place. Rooms mostly all have walls,ceilings, chairs and windows. What makes your place distinct? Does it have creaking mahogany furniture? Nicotine stained wallpaper? Low, tired sofas resting on weary carpet?
  7. Think about how you would describe the place if you were watching your story on film, and try describing it that way!

Join the writing communities for Magical Worlds With Harry Potter, Doctor WhoClass and the BBC Writersroom.