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Setting as tension: Editor's Notes #157
January 21, 2014
Hello,

Psychiatrists try to relieve stress, strain, and tension.
Writers are the opposite.
They create stress, strain, and tension.

--Sol Stein


In this issue:

1. Setting as tension
2. Tickled my funnybone
3. Interesting Web site

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1. Setting as tension
I'm sure that as a writer you understand that your work needs to have tension of some sort to hold a reader's attention. (I'm intrigued by the fact that the word tension lives within the word at-tention.)

My own current reading of previous Man Booker Prize winners has me thinking about layers of tension the best writers create in ways many readers may not even notice.

In Offshore by Penelope Fitzgerald, the setting, a barge community on the Thames, holds within it the tension between land dwellers and those who live on a tidal river. Sometimes tension is palpable, but at other times, the reader may not consciously process the source of this tension. It runs through the book, nonetheless, as the river runs through the city. The battle between the incoming Atlantic tide and the river trying to escape into the Atlantic ebbs and flows through the story and contributes to other more easily identified tension between characters.

Your challenge, should you accept it, is to look for potential sources of tension in a setting similar to Fitzgerald's use of the river/land/tide conflicts to enrich your own writing. I'd love to hear how you get on.

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2.Tickled my funnybone
On packaging: Efficient – economical – unusable

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3. Interesting Web site
Looking for something to read? Let me recommend these shortlisted and winning authors of the Man Booker prize.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_winners_and_shortlisted_authors_of_the_Booker_Prize_for_Fiction

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