Sis for

I’ve posted before on the importance of creating well-developed characters, but don’t forget they need an interesting world to live in. The settings in a novel should be perceptible to the reader, in that they should easily be able to visualize the environment the characters move around in, complete with sounds, smells, and textures.

Sometimes it’s useful to sketch out the building, room, or city where the action takes place.  You don’t want the diamond-shaped window your main character gazes out of each morning while he sips coffee to magically move from the left side of the living room to the back of the house.  When I wrote the first book of my Petal Pushers Mystery Series, I spent about ten minutes drawing a sloppy floor plan of the flower shop which is the main setting, and I’m still referring back to it as I write the third book, to make sure I get all the details correct.

Pinterest is a fun way to gather ideas and details for your settings.  You can find hundreds of doorknobs and window styles, pictures from any city you’re thinking about including, not to even mention all the house interiors and exteriors.  Just create your own board and pin away.

How do you invent your settings?  Or is there a particular place from a book that stands out in you mind, like Harry Potter’s Hogwarts and Diagon Alley ?

9 comments on “Settings

  1. Cecilia says:

    I am working on my setting and went to ask a farmer how much pasture I would need to feed a cow through winter. Research 🙂 The setting has to fit the need of the character.

  2. njmagas says:

    Sometimes I feel compelled to draw a room, or a building or even a whole map. I can’t seem to go further in my writing until I’ve drawn it out, even though it’s all coming form my own mind anyway. Strange brain. o.O

  3. jenbradlee says:

    I love settings…they can make or break a scene. But I try to avoid too much detail because it can overwhelm the reader and distract from the story taking place. A few well placed details are key to making the setting come alive…in my honest opinion. 🙂

    • I agree, in that I don’t like reading books that describe every rug and picture on the wall. 🙂 Sprinkling in a detail or two about a setting each time it’s used is a good way for the reader to get a ‘feel’ for the main character’s surroundings.

  4. nrhatch says:

    I agree with Jen. A few key details are all I need.

  5. Carrie-Anne says:

    I love it when the setting feels like almost another character, when the flavor of the city, house, or neighborhood takes on such a strong part of the overall story. I also agree that way too many details can bore the reader and not advance the story. I don’t want to know what every single nook, cranny, and crevice of a house looks like, contrary to how many 19th and early 20th century writers wrote.

  6. I love some of the places Anne McCaffrey dreamed up on Pern; especially Ruatha Hold, Benden Weyr, the Harper Hall, and Landing!

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