Below is an excerpt from my manuscript, The Yellow Suitcase, where I draw on setting to reveal something of my character’s conflict, as part of a segment of her society most others would like to pretend doesn’t exist: the one they wish to hide, the kind they’d turn away from.
Ae Lin shoved herself up from the bed and went to fill up a glass of water from a bottle in the fridge. She sipped the cup, looking out the window, curling her toes against the cool, tiled apartment floor. The sun wasn’t up yet, though the sky started to lighten. The buildings were low, but thick, tangled power cables obscured the view. She looked down to the floor below. Stray dogs sniffed in crevices, searching for scents on moldering walls. Every day, the matron of the apartment below her emerged at dawn to sweep the streets clean. She swept the street daily and with great energy, but it never occurred to her to do something about the mold growing in the crevices. But that’s the whole city, Ae Lin reflected. Everyone sweeps at the fine, delicate dust, priding themselves on their cleanliness, taking care to preserve their marks of beauty, all the while blind to the thick layer of mold hiding in plain view. The mold was a natural, if filthy, consequence of the confluence of the tropical Thai rain and heat, its inevitability its defense.
Whatever people believed to be inescapable eventually became invisible. Though she found the mold both repulsive and unsightly, it got so that, most times, even she stopped seeing it too.
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Write on Edge is a community for writers. This week, they’ve provided a prompt to focus on the use of setting to deepen a reader’s connection to the story by revealing something about the character or conflict, or to evoke a mood. And do it in 250 words or less.