At ACFW, I attended a class led by Cara Putnam and Deborah Raney called “Write Like a Pro”. This class covered a lot of topics, but one in particular captured me–setting. Over the next few weeks, let’s focus on choosing the perfect place for our story.
Setting–seems easy, right? Well, it’s a much deeper concept than we sometimes give credit. Our setting should intertwine with the story in an inseparable way.
The setting should somehow depict the conflict. Allow it to drive your:
1. Characters– Picture a tropical island, quiet town, with two characters forced into the same local. Now picture that same island, but with a murderer on the loose. The story plays out much different, because the setting impacts these characters’ lives.
2. Atmosphere– Does your setting create the feeling you desire to build in readers? War can drive two characters closer and create a sense of dependence. The weather might show a character’s mood. What do you want your reader to feel? Does the setting help or hinder the atmosphere you’re creating?
3. Plot- Setting can establish the conflict. What pulls your characters apart? What draws them closer? Is it a seaside escape or a hurricane prone village?
When prepping to write, have these three concepts in mind. Use them to choose a setting appropriate for your novel. Readers want to picture the landscape. Create one so intertwined with your characters, atmosphere, and plot that it builds a fictional reality for them.