Friday, Dec 17, 2010

Choosing a Setting

The setting of your story can be as important as the story itself.  In fact, in many cases, the setting becomes almost a character. So choose your setting wisely. 

What should you think about when choosing a setting?  Here are a few suggestions: 

1) Is it a place you know?  If not, is it a place you are interested in?  A place you are willing to research? 

2) Is this place the best setting for your story?  For example, a wilderness story would require a wilderness setting, at least in some parts of it.  A story requiring coastal elements would be best set on a seacoast.  A story about scientists trapped in Antarctica would require that the story take place in Antarctica. 

3) Will the setting help or hinder your plot? Is this setting the most logical one for your plot?  Does this setting contain elements that will enhance your plot? 

4) Is this setting overused or rarely used? Stories set in major locations abound. Choose a setting that has not been used before or that has been rarely used.  Readers are drawn to exotic places, unfamiliar locales that offer an element of freshness to their lives. 

5) Do your characters have a good reason to be in this setting? Characters and setting work together in a story and are intimately entwined. Your choice of a setting will affect your characters and vice versa, so choose your setting wisely. 

For an interesting take on whether or not you should use a real place or a fictitious place as your setting, check out this article: 

Also, check out my new, updated websited at

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2 thoughts on “Choosing a Setting

  1. Setting is REAL important in fantasy. I have to decide if my setting is earth-based or not. I like earth-based, with a twist here and there.

    My mentor said the setting is just like another character. You have to choose carefully and know the setting as well as your characters.

    Does the setting help or hinder your hero? In fantasy, it often hinders the quest.

    I try and visit places that are similar to my setting. It all depends on where it is. Right now, my setting is like the Garden of the Gods and I’m hoping to get out there next year before I get too far into my novel.

    December 17, 2010 at 3:59 PM

    • Fantasy writers enjoy a special aspect of writing in that they get to create worlds outside this one. What fun, Pam! 🙂 Thanks for your post.

      December 22, 2010 at 8:52 PM