Thanks to the mysterious R. Mac Wheeler for asking me to post today. He asked, "Where does your writing fall in the matrix of PLOT-CHARACTER-ACTION-SETTING?"
Of course, they are all important and most authors make sure to use them all, but let’s be honest we all have a favorite. And I must be weird because not many people share my favorite—SETTING.
I believe without a really strong setting our stories aren't grounded. Setting can make all the difference. Let me give just a quick example. Here are a few lines of generic dialogue.
“Did you see them?” she asked brushing the hair from her eyes.
He glanced over his shoulder. “No, but I heard them. Isn’t that enough?”
Kind of boring. Now put it in a setting and everything changes. What if you have a couple hiding from zombies in a burned out hospital, or a couple making out in the car at her parents drive way, or two people waiting in line at a concert? Every setting changes the context of the dialogue.
Setting can also immediately give a scene emotion faster than anything else can. How does a rain storm make you feel, or a hot day, or a nursing home, or a windswept moor, or an abandoned store front? I could go on and on.
If you still aren’t convinced ask yourself, “Where would these stories be without their settings?”
Chronicles of Narnia
Lord of the Rings
The Book Thief
I could list a million…
I strongly believe that setting should be treated as another character. Give your setting a history, a voice, movement, emotion, a roll to play. So this is my impassioned plea to all aspiring authors, DON’T FORGET THE SETTING.
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Hogwarts picture attributed to GunnerVV
-R. Mac Wheeler
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