Tag Archive - setting

The Challenge of Creating Powerful Settings

Setting is so often overlooked or pushed to the background in fiction. But it is, perhaps, one of the most powerful elements of a story. If you aren’t thinking carefully about the settings in your story, I hope you’ll think again. Setting isn’t just where your overall story is set, it’s all those locations you set invidual scenes in.

We spend a lot of our time at work and home, and occasionally at those restaurants and coffee shops, but that is ordinary life. And while we want to show our characters in their ordinary lives (at least sometimes), readers don’t want “boring.” Continue Reading…

The Emotional Power of Connected Settings

Chances are, you’ve heard of deep point of view. Imagine a camera lens that zooms in for a close-up; deep POV is when the description filters directly through the point-of-view character (usually the protagonist) on a deep, emotional level.

When readers see what he sees and feel what he feels, it allows for intimate characterization and creates a shared experience in which the story comes alive through the character’s senses, thoughts, beliefs, emotional focus, and judgments.

Not every story uses deep POV, but all writers work to create a level of closeness between the character and reader, which requires a deft hand to bring about. The setting is the story element that facilitates this.

Experiencing details from the setting through the protagonist’s emotions and senses makes the reader feel truly part of the story. This means that choosing the right setting for each scene is important to not only help events unfold but increases reader-character connection. Continue Reading…

Showing Your Scenes through Your Characters’ Senses

One of the reasons readers willingly immerse themselves in a story is to be transported. Whether it’s to another planet, another era—past or future—or just into a character’s daily life, readers want to be swept away from their world and into another—the world of the writer’s imagination.

It’s challenging for writers to know how much detail to put in scenes to effectively transport a reader. Too much can dump info, drag the pacing of the story, and bore or overwhelm. Conversely, too little detail can create confusion or fail to evoke a place enough to rivet the reader.

In addition to knowing how much detail to show, writers have to decide what kind of details to use. I often read scenes in the manuscripts I critique, for example, that have characters engaging in lots of gestures, such as rubbing a neck, bringing a hand to a cheek, pushing fingertips together, turning or moving toward something—all for no clear reason.

Showing body movement, gestures, and expressions can be an effective way to indicate a character’s emotional state, but this needs thoughtful consideration so that the gesture or expression packs the punch desired.

I’d like to speak to the importance of showing setting—and not just showing it in any old way. What is key to creating a powerful setting is to show it through your character’s POV and in a way that feels significant. Continue Reading…

Page 1 of 712345»...Last »