Nestled between Thanksgiving and Christmas I had the pleasure of attending my dream wedding. Um, I’m talking fairy tale, Martha Stewart would be weeping with jealously type of affair. It was everything I would have selected for my own wedding if I had a do-over opportunity (I’d keep my groom because he turned out to be an awesome choice).
As synchronized wait staff began serving appetizers my brain immediately clicked into writer mode. Instead of snapping pictures of family and friends with my iPhone I focused on things like the grand staircase, the pristine bouquets of Casablanca lilies, and the individual coconut soufflés. I wanted to capture every detail so I could re-create it for Sophia, the heroine of my current work-in-progress. Creating the right setting makes a huge impact on a story. Choosing the right words isn’t always easy. Too much detail might bore readers. Too little detail might not do justice to your story or your characters.
When the dancing wound down at the reception that evening a member of the wedding party approached me and asked if I would email him some of my pictures. Oops. After nodding politely I slipped outside and scrolled through my online album. Not one picture of the bride and groom. I already knew what my fictional characters looked like so I never aimed my camera in that direction.
How important is setting to you as a reader? Do you prefer a whole lot of detail or room for your imagination to take over?