Three Things to Consider when Writing Setting

Bench in the garden

When we write settings there are a lot of things to consider, such as location and time. But what if you want to use setting to bring more life to your story in and make it seem more then just a place? Here are three tips that I learned for writing setting.

  1. Sensory Details

When writing setting think about how your descriptions appeal to the five senses. What does the character taste, see, smell, hear, and feel? Maybe your character is in the park enjoying some fresh air. Does your character hear birds chirping or dogs barking? Are the seasons changing and they can see patches of snow that are still on the grass? Is your character stopping to get ice cream or maybe chewing gum? Appealing to the five senses gives life to your writing, which makes you and your readers feel connected with your characters

2. Backstory

Does the setting provide background information to your story that is crucial for the plot? Maybe your character grew up in the same village in the story. What kind of memories does it trigger? Setting can trigger flashbacks for your character that can provide information to drive your story forward or about a character’s past or present. Maybe your character isn’t in a neighborhood they grew up in. Your setting can have similar surroundings, statues, or any other physical element that can spark a trigger for backstory whether it be a hidden backstory or a visible backstory

3. Characterization

Setting can also characterize people in your story. Is your character in a dangerous situation and they must stay strong to survive? Does your character act a certain way because of the backstory and/or things that happen in your setting? Maybe your setting gives the character an idea, or a sudden change of heart that changes the direction of your story. Setting allows us to reveal attitudes, beliefs, and emotions about the character. Setting also can be a way to express what is happening to other characters in your story that may not be able to be seen through your character’s point of view. For example, if your character is at a gathering you can use the setting to show other character’s perspectives or actions.

Next time you are writing setting, try to include one of these elements in your story.

By Ciana Bowers

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