Friday, April 22, 2011

S is for Setting

To me, the setting of a story can make or break it. It's almost as important as the characters themselves. Look at some popular stories, for instance:

Twilight: the setting is small town Forks in beautiful Washington state where it's lush and green and rains all the time.

Harry Potter: Hogwarts magical castle and realm. Even the town of Hogsmeade is quaint and cozy.

Lost, the TV show: set in tropical, breath-taking Hawaii.

Of course, there are other aspects that made these stories popular, but take away their awesome settings, and you'd be missing part of the formula that makes these stories shine.

So before you start writing, consider your setting. How will you bring it to life, make it feel real? We can't overdo it, or it's ruined, but sprinkle in just enough of a well-thought out setting to ground the reader, and we have a winner.

In my current WIP, I've had to create an entire world. It took a lot of brainstorming and when trying to keep the story under 60k words, I'm very limited as to how much I can describe this imaginary world. But I also feel like it's really important too, and I don't want to skimp on it.

What are your thoughts on settings? Does it make a difference to you? Do you notice them? Please share ....

17 comments:

welcome to my world of poetry said...

It's so good of writers to give tips on writing. As my poetry writing consists of mainly what has happened in my life or family many of the tips don't apply......at the moment, but who knows in the future I may take up writing seriously. Thanks for all the tips.
Yvonne.

Angeline said...

As a fantasy writer I get to build the entire world, so I have the freedom to mould the world to the story where needed. I always completely world-build before starting to write, but sometimes you just need an extra town added in halfway through.

Sophia Richardson said...

Since getting serious about writing and reading about the craft, setting has become one of my favourite things to think about. An immserive setting, described with all five senses and affecting the character's actions, can make a book for me. As for myself, I have a list of settings ranging from the simple (abandoned mental asylum) to sentences detailing the atmosphere and objects. All of this is to say, I loves me some setting.
- Sophia.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Not as much as I should in a book. (Movies, definitely.) The setting plays a great role in my current manuscript, so I'm trying to make it more real and alive.

GigglesandGuns said...

Love reading the comments on posts like these.
Setting is where my ideas are born. A place, a tree, a room or even a group of people give me the story.

Barbara Kloss said...

I think I didn't realize how important setting was until draft #3. It was a lot of editing after that. :) Setting is so important - it's a character just like everything else.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I write YA contemporary, so I don't have the same challenges you do, PK. Setting is something I'm working hard on because it is one of my weaknesses.

kmckendry said...

I only created a new world in my first work. It was so much fun but so difficult

DM said...

Setting is everything to me when I read or watch TV/movie. So I try to make my settings unique and appealing. Yes, so important PK.

Tundiel said...

My main MS is set in my home city, which has been nrilliant fun to play with. I have another MS in the works which is fantasy-based, which is both hard work and exciting because you have unlimited boundaries.

I've left you a little something on my blog today. :)

Elena Solodow said...

I love books where the setting is a character all its own. Any dystopian novel is usually a strong candidate for setting.

James Garcia Jr said...

Hi, PK. With my first novel, I was spending so much time created a new town not unlike my own, that I finally just took the plunge and used my hometown as the setting. That led me down other great avenues that were real. My sequel continues that theme. For my third novel, I have yet to decide where its setting will be. I'll have to keep you posted...

-Jimmy

fOIS In The City said...

Setting is the most essential element for me, since I am fOIS In The City. On the planet earth there is but one "The City" and that is Manhattan ... the Big Apple ...

and the place where all my crazy, outspoken women come from, where all of my stories take place :)

Norma Beishir said...

Setting has always been important to me. I usually use a number of settings in different countries. (I was once told by a fellow author that I tend to paint on a much larger canvas than most writers; I suppose that's true).

Dawn Kurtagich said...

Setting is hugely important in my writing. It's almost another character in itself.

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Setting is very important to me whether it is in cinema or literature. I am currently finishing up the book World War Z which is an interesting dynamic for my tastes since the mini-stories bounce all over the planet.