4 Ways to Create Great Settings
Every story is unique, and, as the creator of that setting, you are in charge for making it come alive with setting details. That includes the where, the time of day/week/year/century, the sensory images, the buildings or location, the season and much more to help the reader step into the emotions associated with writing. Not always as easy task, but an important one.
Consider these points as you work on setting:
- Choose relevant impressions rather than making blanket statements. Weave them into the story early on without making an opening paragraph filled with generic setting details. Look through books you admire that match your genre and see how the authors slide the reader into their stories.
- When you create a world, spend time laying out details you can embellish as you step deeper into your story. It’s vital to be consistent.
- If you are using actual historical times, be careful to do your research. (There were no cola cans in the 1940s. Radios were not anything like today’s cell phone/internet possibilities. Gladiators didn’t wear shoes like we know them.) Know what was so you can keep your readers believing your story.
- Be careful with physical locations; know the terrain
- Balance the number of details with the importance of those details. Too few will leave the reader wandering; too many may lead the reader to skim and/or get bogged down in details. Be selective and ask your editing partner to check your ‘balance’.