How The Heck Do I Write a Novel in 30 Days???
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Setting adds details and realism to your story that extends beyond your characters and plot. It keeps the story from being a string of events happening to people we may or may not care about. In many ways, it brings a story to life.
Think about your favourite novel. Where does it take place? When? What does that place look like? Is it hot there? What’s the political climate like? What do the people wear? Now, imagine that same story taking place on the moon in 2151. It would be a completely different story, wouldn’t it?
Although your story often starts with setting, the setting itself does not (fully) define the story. Instead, it gives your story a backdrop – a stage on which events can play out. But setting isn’t just a place and a time. It can influence how your readers respond to your story. Ideally, it will be so well described that your reader can picture it without even having been there! It should be well-known, well-researched or, if created, consistent.
The setting includes all the natural forces, institutions, and culture that act on your characters. These can also be thought of as time, place, and circumstance. Without a setting, without a place, there can be no story. Much like the force, setting helps to pull every aspect of your story together.
Your setting should be detailed. This detail is what makes it believable and helps make it integral to the story. It should be described selectively, preferably without the use of exposition. Remember to use all five senses when describing the world around your character and work it in as the story unfolds.
Your setting can affect your story (the local weather will have an influence on your story theme – try writing about a camel herder in the arctic), your plot (religious or societal forces can change or move your plot ahead), and your character (where we live shapes the person we are and the beliefs we have). Make sure you think it through!
Here are some additional sources you can reference (Disclaimer: we do not personally or professionally endorse any of these sites, nor do we have any affiliation with their creators):