Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Settings as Characters

How do we create good settings?

The best settings come about organically, permeating every aspect of the plot, characters, and theme.  Unfortunately, this does not exactly help draft new settings.

In drafting settings, I believe a setting is like a character.  Because a setting should be intrinsic to a work, developing and "unpacking" the setting through descriptions and details is like describing a character.

We can apply every detail and tool we use for character description to settings.  Actions, dialog, smells, sights, and tastes all help create the feel and impression of a setting, the same way these can do for a character.

This is probably not that simple.  Just like characters, settings develop over time, and with many drafts.  The personality of a setting can deepen and become more interesting the more we revise and write a setting.


  1. I think I do this with setting, although I am not always successful! I am aware, for example, that historical fiction comes to life when history is four dimensional (as in, movement within time) and not just a backdrop. As you suggest, the difficulty is creating that immersion as we do with character development. Hard stuff to do! As you know, I struggle to move beyond the historical tidbits and the 'listing of facts' effect!

    You've hit a nerve. My next post will share this struggle, with actual examples (oh MY!).

  2. Cool. I'm looking forward to your post.