On July 14th, the #TeachersWrite lesson was a Quick Write with Elana K. Arnold, author of Infandous. She presented a lesson entitled, “Setting as a Reflection of Character” on Kate Messner‘s website.

Here is what I wrote in response to Elana, and the prompt:


Hello, Elana & Campers!

Thank you, Elana, for a fantastic exercise that terrified me, and that I will absolutely use with my students. I really didn’t think I could do this. Fiction is not a forte, and I was quite surprised by how much setting brought voice to my three characters. Each character picked up on a different piece of the setting I’d observed. It was fascinating because they told me what they noticed. (Thank you for setting this up as two parts. It made the second part fresh and inspired.)

I would really love to share my teenager with you, but she exploded into expletives upon seeing the rosebush that she and her father had planted for her 13th birthday, so I will share my cat instead.

Part 1: As I extend my glance beyond the deck, the rose bush has a dancing visitor, white wings flutter around its edges. Mostly green, like a Douglas fir, the leaves have a few bright splashes of pink where parts of flowers cling after the early morning showers, but mostly, the bush is covered in the stars of buds that have been deflowered. This plant desperately needs to be deadheaded.

Part 2: Purr. Purr. This rosebush is awesome- scratches in all the right places, not to mention the wood on this deck- just the right height to get my back. This spearmint smells terrible though. Wish they would plant a little catnip here. Ahh. Now that would be awesome. A little back scratch. A little catnip-generated spin on the grass. Then, a lazy nap on the edge of the deck where the sun hits. Purrfect.