HOW TO WRITE ABOUT PLACES
We’re all products of our environment,
whether we like it or not. Your hometown influenced the
hobbies you pursued, the clothes you wore, the principles
that guided your life, the way your parents disciplined you,
the way you thought about yourself, and more. Decisions
about education and career were probably shaped by your
environment, as well. It’s important that you describe the
important places in your life in such a way that they come
alive for your readers, so they can visualize what it was
like to live in those areas when you lived there.
places the way they were
when you lived
· Don’t make
"setting" descriptions sound like a travel brochure, detailing the history, economy, weather,
population, etc. Keep your descriptions
personal. What did these places mean to you? What do
readers need to know to visualize them the way you do?
· Include sensory details—the sights, sounds,
scents, and feel of these locations.
specific place names—the name of the soda fountain
where the kids congregated after football games, the name of
the gas station where you worked during the summer, etc.
of the following topics would make your settings come alive
for your readers and illustrate what these places meant to
you? Choose a few and weave this information into your
Industries—Was there a predominant industry in
Population—size, ethnicity, socio-economic
levels, prejudices, religion.
P Entertainment—What did you do for fun?
P Hangouts--Bob's Big Boy, the A&W?
P Traditions—county fairs, sports, picnics,
P First impressions—What would strangers notice
the first time they came to your town?
Daily life—the Good Humor man, the coal man,
party lines, incinerators, outhouses.
Friendly? Conservative? Caring?