on Fiction University:
Finding the right balance between a fleshed-out setting and an under (or over) developed one can be tricky. Ann Harth shares a three-step plan for describing a setting that’s just right.
You’re reading through a scene at a blistering pace.
Peter, the young prince of Agapanthaland, is running for his life. The palace walls have been penetrated by an inhuman multi-fisted fiend. Its neck stretches, thrusting gnashing teeth after the sprinting boy. Prince Peter’s heart pummels his chest, his breath tears at this throat. He pounds down the hallway and bursts into the kitchen.
Rich broth bubbles in a copper pot on the black cast iron stove. Bunches of carrots, parsnips and celery lay beside a dark grey bowl on a wooden bench while herbs swing in clumps above, adding their spicy scent to the room’s meaty aroma. The bench has been well used, scarred by years of chopping and slicing. The floor is a puzzle of slate slabs and the steps on the other side of the kitchen lead down to a closed door.
Can you see it? Good. Now, where were we?
Oh yes. Peter was about to be eaten by a long-necked monster and stopped to appreciate the ambiance in the kitchen.
What happened to the blistering pace?