Mining the Setting: “In the Canyon: How Setting Became Story” by Liz Garton Scanlon

Fellow VCFA member Liz Garton Scanlon on the power of setting in the story creation process.

Beth Anderson, Children's Writer

With the “Paging Through the Parks” celebration of the 100th anniversary of  U.S. National Parks during August, it’s the perfect time to examine setting. Liz Garton Scanlon  shares her experience mining the setting for story. What she found sprang from her own experience and memories, and how the setting had touched her. 

IMG_1165In the Canyon: How Setting Became Story

As writers, we seem to be growing increasingly aware of the importance of setting – not just as backdrop, but as an essential component of every story. Setting can establish tone, help explain or elucidate characters, and make a piece more authentic overall. But is setting enough to serve as story on its own? Not usually. Stories need conflict, drama, challenge, satisfaction, right?

Enter the Grand Canyon. Several years ago, when my agent suggested I write a picture book about the Grand Canyon, I didn’t ask for clarification or direction. I should have…

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