Welcome Guest Heather Smith - Setting the Stage

Please join me in welcoming freelance writer Heather Smith to writercize today! She has a great way to create a scene by setting the stage below. The writercize sample is hers - I will post my own in a comment below. I welcome you to do the same!

Read on for the writercize, sample and Heather's bio!
Setting the Stage
Coming up with ideas on what to write about is never easy. Sometimes it seems like I am pulling teeth just to get down a few hundred words every day. Other days I feel like my fingers will just not type fast enough! We all have good days and bad days, days where we feel like writing is a chore and days where we feel like there is nothing in the world we would rather be doing.
On the days that I get stuck for ideas, however, I have a few tricks up my sleeve. One of my tricks I will share with you now, in the hopes that it, too, will help you get started in your writing adventure.
writercize : Instead of coming up with a plot idea or even characters, first start with the setting. You can look at a painting on the wall, the background on your computer desktop, or an image on Pinterest. Once you have the setting in mind, picture what would go on there. Who would live there? What job would they have? What kind of relationships? What era is it in – modern, historic, fantasy, or future? Once you get to thinking about the setting, other things start falling into place. If you do not have access to an image or do not want to look one up, then try one of these settings below:
·       A dark city street filled with fog
·       A green pine forest
·       A towering glass skyscraper
·       Twisted trees barely visible in the dark
·       The cogs of a great machine, slowly turning
·       A cubicle-filled office
·       A grassy meadow with a red barn in the distance
·       A lighthouse in the middle of stormy seas
·       A grey cement jail cell
writercizer sample response:
The cell was the same as it always was. Pale grey-green paint peeled from the ancient walls. The bars were rusted, coated in sharp, flaky powder. The remnants of names and numbers were barely visible all across the grey cement, like graffiti washed away by the sands of time.
Jeremiah shivered, wishing he had never taken the job. Sure, it sounded like an easy opportunity to make a few bucks, but as he eyed the cracked and stained wooden cot in the corner with trepidation he wondered what he had gotten himself into.
“A word of advice,” the old man croaked, his voice barely audible as he forced the words past the cancerous lump in his throat, “Stay away from cell number four. That’s his cell.”
Jeremiah nodded mutely, stifling a cough as the man’s cigarette smoke curled around his trembling, yellowed fingers. Jeremiah threw a glance towards cell four, lost in the shadows. The narrow, barred windows let in precious little light, especially as the sun set.
As the old man shuffled down the long, empty corridor, the crash of waves masking his footfalls, Jeremiah couldn’t help but wonder if Alcatraz was truly as haunted as the stories said.
Pulling out his lantern he went to work, the broom scraping against the dust left behind by inmates long dead but never forgotten.
Author Bio

Heather Smith is an ex-nanny. Passionate about thought leadership and writing, Heather regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and parenting blogs/websites. She also provides value to www.nanny.net/ service by giving advice on site design as well as the features and functionality to provide more and more value to nannies and families across the U.S. and Canada. She can be available at H.smith7295 [at] gmail.com.


  1. Excellent suggestion.

    Hugs and chocolate,


  2. Great to know you Heather! ANd I love this exercise :)


  3. Panting, and holding down the stitch in his side, Karl fell in the grass. Erik would be there soon for sure, but limits are limits and Karl could not run another step even if he had to. Yet after only a few minutes, and with no Erik in sight, the stitch was gone and his breathing was back to normal.

    "Where is he?" Karl whispered to himself, as he peered between blades of tall grass back toward that bright red barn.

    "Such a bright, bright red in the sun", he mused, as he thought about how perfectly dark it was inside that hell hole. "Especially for Erik", he huffed, and then smiled, and then he began to laugh out loud, for just then he saw Erik coming.

    Erik came slowly towards Karl alerted now by the corrupt laughter. He was stiff as a zombie, but sputtering and swearing instead of moaning. Wiping his mouth and eyes with one coated hand and then spitting and blinking and wiping again with the other, and leaving a trail of liquid manure behind like a slug his slime, he was bound to kill his country cousin for setting that trap.

    Karl knew it too, but could not help himself. He reached for the rope snaking through the grass toward the stack of wooden boxes Erik was just passing. As he pulled the cord, and the bee hives toppled over, Karl only wondered how well the stingers would be able to penetrate Erik's new coat of manure.


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