CAT Magazine

CAT Magazine

Location! Location! Location!

The Word Queen
Bringing Books To Life
Writing, Publishing & Book Marketing

The key to writing a good setting is making it the base of the story. Setting is as important to your writing as plot, character and emotion. It is a part of all those things.

Creating the perfect setting for your novel is not as hard as you might think if you take the time to consider who is going to be living in it. The characters, action, and ultimately solution to your novel will determine the perfect setting for any novel. With some consideration to these important things, your setting will often create itself.

Setting is one of the easier things to create when writing a novel if for no other reason than half the creating is already done when you get to it. You already have the characters, and so you have a framework to build the setting around.

Check out these first three of ten tips for creating an inspiring setting:

1. Get To Know Your Setting
Whether your story is set in a university, London, or a posh restaurant, an interesting setting is critical to good storytelling. And there's no better way to make it compelling than to know it inside and out.

Spend some time checking out your setting, including the nooks and crannies and the history. To learn more about your setting ask it questions like: "How old are you?" "What kind of people come here?" "What are your biggest secrets?"

If you want to use a location in your novel that you have never visited, there are ways of collecting enough research to make it plausible. These include:

The internet
Tour guides, like the Lonely Planet or Rough Guide.
Travel clubs
Interviewing people who have visited the locations you want to use

This may sound like cheating, but it is actually how many would-be authors find out about the destinations they use in their novels and there is nothing wrong with this practice as long as the information is accurate.
2. Let Your Characters Explore The Setting
If you're concerned that your book's characters will get bored of hanging out in just one setting, give them a secondary location. It's up to you to decide what places your characters hang out in deserve the most attention.

If you're unable to visit a secondary setting, research the location online, or at the local library. If the setting is fictional, dream up the look and feel of it in your mind; bring it to life in the same way as you do with your characters.

This is where good research comes in to the equation! You must establish the time period, the location, the customs, hardware, construction, instruments, and so on.

After you have thoroughly investigated your setting(s), you can then decide how your characters fit into this setting?

Most readers need enough details about the setting to know where the characters are, in what time period the story takes place and what the place looks like. If it takes place in a hairdressers, that's important for a reader to know. But unless the hairdressers has some unusual decorations, or it is in an unusual location, it's not necessary for the author to describe it. After all, hairdressers all look basically the same.

3. Use The Five Senses
There are more ways to get across a book's setting than by describing what everything looks like. Your reader has five senses, so it's important to engage them all.
Next time we'll look at the remaining seven of these amazing ten tips :)
Love & Light
Keidi Keating
The Word Queen xxx

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