Monday, March 2, 2015

Three Basics to Setting

As storytellers we want to ground our readers in the setting of our story. Setting is a necessary tool to help our readers relate with our characters. It can also increase suspense of conflict.

1. Always give a location.
Is your story in a room? Which one? A bedroom and a living room are vastly different. Make sure to mention the city, state, or general area. In fantasy, describe the landscape or lack thereof to familiarize the reader.

2. Seasons and weather can increase your reader's association with the story.
Weather allows the reader to experience the sensations your character is feelings in whatever setting you have placed them. We can all relate to rain and cold or a sunny day and heat. A little extra description of the temperature or season can go a long way. Season can also show your story's time length.

3. Time is important!
All people associate time with their own lives. We all feel different at different times of the day. Time can show your character is a morning person or a night owl. Hunger at breakfast, lunch, and dinner are also ways to bring an extra layer of believability to your character.

The ticking time bomb approach can also build conflict and suspense in a story. For instance if a bomb is going off in 24 hours, you've got a new challenge for every hour.

So check out your manuscript and make sure you have offered a location, time, and described the weather surrounding your character's story. We all experience these aspects of life at all times and it is important for your reader to associate these within your story world.

How have you used setting to increase the reliability in your story? Any struggles in building a realistic fantasy world? We love to hear from you!


  1. I really enjoy when the author takes the time to make the setting (location, seasons and weather, time) a character in the story. Watching our hero interact and have conflict with the setting makes the story more real and intense.

    1. Me too! I loved 24 because time became like a character. Setting can really amp up a story. :)