Imagining What It Would Be Like To Be There

Assuming that you've done your research and have sufficient information to write a detailed description of your character's surroundings, try the following test:

Picture yourself sitting in an armchair in your living room. It is around 7.30 pm in the middle of winter and you are reading a book. You have a drink beside you. Now imagine exactly the same scene in a previous century and then at a point of your choosing in the future. For all three scenes, answer the questions listed below:

1. What material has been used to make the chair you are sitting on?

2. What method of lighting are you using?

3. Is the room heated and if so how?

4. Is the room carpeted? If not, what sort of floor covering does it have?

5. How is the room decorated?

6. What is the title of the book you are reading?

7. What are you drinking?

8. Is it in a glass, cup, goblet, other? If not glass or china, what is it made of?

9. What are you wearing? 10. Are you warm enough?

By comparing how comfortable you normally feel in the given situation with how you imagine it would have felt in the past and how it might feel in the future, you can bring a great deal of realism to your writing.

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