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Tips on How to Bring Setting to Life in Your Fiction

Settings in fiction are often in the background—literally. Characters are talking and doing things, but readers get merely a glimpse of setting.

A character enters a building in some unidentified place (town, countryside, the Moon?) and goes into a room that has no description whatsoever.

The character walks outside, and there is no notice of weather or time of day or season. The reader can’t see the neighborhood or the environment.

Face it: if a writer doesn’t care much about setting, the reader won’t either.

Is that a problem? Maybe not for some readers. But most people will agree that the task of a fiction writer is to immerse her readers into her story. And story is setting. Characters have to be somewhere while they are talking, thinking, and behaving. Continue Reading…

Why Setting Is a Powerful Tool in the Writer’s Toolbox

This month I’m launching my new online video course: Crafting Powerful Settings. Here’s the intro to the course. If you enroll before October 24th, you can get 30% off using coupon code EARLYBIRD. Setting is a crucial element fiction writers must master!

We live in two amazing worlds: the real world and the world of our imagination. And what’s also amazing is that every single person experiences the real world in a unique way, with a unique perspective. No two alike.

Writing fiction is all about creating worlds—the world of story. Whether you set your story in the world we all live in or in one that springs solely from your imagination, your job is to bring that world to life through your words so that your readers can experience it. That’s what setting is all about. And that’s why it’s such an important element—if not the most important—for fiction writers.

Too often, writers ignore setting. But think about this—we live in the physical world. We respond to and interact with every single setting we are in, consciously or unconsciously. We inhabit space every second of our lives, even when we were in the womb. We cannot be extricated from setting, and neither can the characters we write about.

Setting is place. It’s environment. The objects and living things around us. It’s our immediate surroundings but also the larger space we move and breathe in. Continue Reading…

Crafting Snowball Stakes for Your Fiction

Today’s post is by international best-selling author DiAnn Mills.

Creating high stakes is much like a snowball gaining strength as it rolls downhill. The story gains momentum, building throughout every scene.

Each scene has three critical elements: a goal, conflict, and high stakes. Without those components, the scene loses purpose and falls flat. Each proceeding scene must build on the previous scene’s urgency increasing the point of view character’s struggle. Scene two can’t happen before scene one, and scene sixty can’t happen without scenes one through fifty-nine. I’m not a math whiz, but I see the logic of this snowball effect of adding high stakes to a scene.

The high stakes must be worth the POV character’s effort and communicated to the reader.

“If it matters to the character, then the character must earn it.” —Roz Morris Continue Reading…

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