Perhaps you’ve written a middle-grade or young teen novel. Or you’re reading one.
It’s natural for many of the scenes to take place at school or at someone’s home. Or maybe at a sporting event. Those places make up a big chunk of a young person’s world if he doesn’t drive.
But I love it when a story surprises me with a scene that takes place at an art fair or museum, a dance recital, concert, or movie theater (some do consider movies “art”). Although a change of scenery can play a part in the plot, it doesn’t have to—not for me, anyway. I simply enjoy reading and writing about young characters’ interactions in believable artsy settings where they might easily find themselves even if they don’t drive.
Opportunities abound for vivid writing to engage readers. Scene descriptions that employ sensory detail such as color, smell, sound—and often taste—make what’s going on with the characters in a scene all the more exciting. And there’s occasion for characters’ reactions to their surroundings, or use of elements in their surroundings as props, to reveal their personalities and relationships or show character growth.
Reading and writing novels that use the arts to create setting have been a fun way for me to learn about some of the arts I’m less familiar with. Whether a character visits a junkyard sculpture booth at an art fair or attends a street music performance, you may find an art-loving character a lot more interesting to read and write about.
If that character is a jock or a farm kid or a villain, even better.
Is there a novel you’ve read in which one or more of the arts added to the pleasure of reading the story?