WooHooo! I’ve already received a Christmas story from one of you dear followers of SM 101, and I’m excited to read stories others will submit. How’s your story coming along?
Remember, I need to receive your stories by December 10 and I’ll pick one or more to publish here. See below for submission details.
If you missed last week’s post, Click on Send me your Christmas stories. It contains tips on character development, emotion, sensory details, and your vignette’s opening.
Today we’ll look at the importance of
- sense of place, and
Your story’s sense of place: Establishing a sense of place will draw readers into your story.
“To achieve intimacy with your reader,” says Danielle Lazarin, “you have to say to them: here is your key to the apartment, here is the school, there’s a set of trees that perfectly frame the river, that’s where your friends live, your sister’s down that road.”
How do you do that? You include sensory details. What do readers need to see, touch, taste, smell, and hear?
If you invite readers into your “place,” whether indoors or out, whether in a big city or a rural spot far from any town, readers will:
- feel they’re experiencing your story with you,
- get to know you, feel connected to you,
- feel grounded in your story,
- discover the mood, atmosphere, and emotions of that place and time,
- and, in the end, take away important lessons for their own lives.
You’ll enjoy these words by L.L. Barkat: “. . . A writer must have passions and a sense of place. . . . The words of a region, a philosophy, a passion . . . come with their own sounds and rhythms and fragrances.”
Make time to think deeply
and describe the culture that exists in the town or business
or church or family in your story.
Pin down the words and philosophy
and passion and rhythms and fragrances
that belong to your story.
Click on these additional posts about creating a sense of place for your story:
The importance of place in your memoir (This one includes a Christmas setting from my new memoir, Please, God, Don’t Make Me Go: A Foot-Dragger’s Memoir.)
Your story’s ending: Pay attention to your vignette’s conclusion. A weak ending can make a story fall short of its potential impact, but a strong one makes a memoir shine.
That means you need to put a lot of work into crafting it.
Remember this: You just cannot write an ending that gushes, “And they all lived happily ever after.” No, you must not!
Give your vignette’s ending muscle.
Or turn it into a melody.
Or a prayer.
For the benefit of your readers—and yourself—make time to discover the core, the heart, the soul of your story and highlight that in your ending.
Your goal is to write a satisfying, compelling conclusion that gives readers wisdom, compassion, courage, faith, hope, and inspiration for living.
You want to maximize the power of your vignette’s ending.
- How do I want readers to feel after reading my story?
- How do I want them to think as a result of reading my story?
- What do I want them to do and how do I want them to live because they read my Christmas story?
The beauty of your story will shine brightest at its ending.
Click on this link for help in crafting your conclusion: The beauty of memoir: Your vignettes’ strong endings.
Be sure to look over and apply the important writing tips from last week’s post (click on Send me your Christmas stories). When you’ve edited and polished and proofread your Christmas story, submit it for consideration. I’ll be happy to edit it before publication.
Please submit a vignette that
- has not been published before, or
- is a story you published in the past and own the copyright.
Aim at writing 1000 words or less in a Word document sent as an attachment to LindaKThomasAuthor [at] gmail [dot] com. (Replace [at] with @ and replace [dot] with a period, scrunch everything together, and your email should reach me.) Please write “Christmas vignette for SM 101” in the subject line so I’ll know it’s not spam. Thanks.
Also please include a short author bio along with links to your website, blog, Facebook Page, and other social media.
Happy Christmas writing!