As a child, I once watched some men pour a sidewalk of concrete. The men warned us children not to step into the concrete as it first had to set. If we stepped into it before it set, our feet would leave permanent imprints. In other words, the concrete would provide the permanent background for whatever we imprinted against that background.
The idea of permanent imprints sounded like fun, but we were good children and we obeyed the men’s orders. Since then, I have seen instances of imprints made in wet concrete. They are, indeed, permanent.
Like wet concrete, the setting for your story is the background against which you will create your story. As a fiction writer, you are free to make any imprint you want on your setting. But first you must create your setting. First, you must pour the concrete.
There are various kinds of concrete. There are also various types of settings. We could refer to them as contemporary, historical, fantasy, supernatural, etc. The setting is the background against which you build your story. It is important to determine this background before you write your story.
Just as an artist must choose the proper background for her painting (canvas, paper, wood, etc.) before she begins to paint, so must the fiction writer choose the proper background for her story before she begins to write. That background is called the setting.
What setting are you setting for your story? Is it the best setting for your story? Is it a setting that can effectively bear the permanent imprint of your story?
Photo Source: Microsoft Clipart