... That would make a pretty cool title for a book! We haven't made it to titles yet, though. Section 10 of Spilling Ink is actually about mood. Ellen Mazer gives brilliant advice to young writers regarding setting. She tell them to make a circle with their thumb and forefinger-- about the size of a chicken nugget. She instructs them to peek through the circle to get a little sample of setting. Even though it's chicken nugget-sized, it gives the reader an idea of what their world is like. She then tells them, as they get more comfortable, to enlarge the circle and give more details about setting. The leap here is to get kids to go from the concrete--writing about their literal chicken nugget-sized setting-- to the abstract. The goal is to get them to step inside their own story and give us a peek.
Ms. Mazer also talks about how setting has the power to change the reader's mood. She compares setting to the mood ring experience. (Remember how it felt? It didn't seem to tell you the mood you were in, but seemed to dictate your moods, depending on the color. If you looked down and saw black, you immediately began to feel a bit funky.) That's the power of setting. The writer can make the reader feel a certain way with some strategically place words. Pretty magical, just like those rings!
I am going to have a go at the "chicken nugget strategy" before I turn in for the night.
I am seated on the floor in the my living room, and this is what I can see from my nugget-sized circle:
A big fat fuschia book, sans the dust cover, sits on the coffee table. A blue paper bookmark peeks out from around page 273. Next to it, a crumpled napkin sits, left behind after the boys had their naughty nightly snack of potato chips. I see a roll of electrical tape and a snack-sized Ziplock filled with tiny little creatures made out of salvaged electrical parts. A Food Network magazine has been haphazardly tossed on the table, on top of which lies paper and a pen.
I guess that gives you an idea of who lives here and what they value. I don't know what mood it puts you in, though. It puts me in the mood to clean up all the debris from the day!
What's in your nugget-sized circle?