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Description and Setting: Bringing a Story to Life


Description is one of the fundamental elements in storytelling and has multiple functions. We use it to ground and set a story in place and time, build character, mood, tension and suspense, shift pace, add plausibility, provide metaphors and deepen thematic exploration. In any story there is also a balance that should be sought, between action, reflection and description. Too little description and the story remains floating, ungrounded. Too much description and the story threads become lost.

Through a combination of discussion, readings and exercises, this workshop asks a range of questions in order to deepen our understanding of description. What more is this scene trying to tell us? How might it act as metaphor, as an expression of a universal truth, a human emotion, a philosophical idea? In answering these questions, it becomes possible to layer and deepen our stories and their themes, while at the same time creating a convincing setting that transports the reader into the world of the story, enabling them to suspend disbelief until the end.

For more information on the specifics of the workshop, Rosie can be reached at