Setting is as important as characterization and plot. When used properly it fades into the background of the text, nearly invisible, giving to your readers a sense of place and time.It is a rich tapestry of description that doesn’t run on and on for paragraphs, but whose threads are interwoven into the dialogue and action.
Setting is an important part of the story, like a character it has its own personality and appearance. Don’t make a laundry list of descriptive details and put them all into your first paragraph. Use the details that are important to the story or help create the mood you want you readers to have going into a scene. Use your setting as you would a character.
But beware, setting can be overdone or underdone. When it moves into either of these two extremes, you’ll either bore you audience or confuse them. When creating settings for your novels, study writing that you enjoy, emulate but don’t copy the writing of authors you like to read, and write the stories you love.
I use a setting sketch to keep track of details that I use or might want to use later. This helps me because I write book series, and going back through a book or several books is a waste of time. So I thought I’d share the sketch I use.
Name of Setting:
Characters living in:
City and State:
Describe or draw a picture of the Surrounding area:
Do you find setting to be important in your stories, or do you mostly ignore it?