How to Use Symbolic and Archetypal Settings in Your Story

Story settings serve as the backdrop, providing a tangible environment in which characters interact and events unfold. Most settings are realistic and straightforward, providing physical attributes of necessary locations in the story. But writers can raise stories to a higher level by employing symbolic and archetypal settings that go beyond mere description to act as […]

How to Choose Story Settings: The 4 Basic Types of Setting

Beyond mere backdrop, story settings are what allow authors to orchestrate meaningful connections among characters. Settings should serve as more than just scenery. They should provide characters with compelling reasons to share the stage with one another. Accomplishing this in a story requires understanding how to strategically choose story settings as meeting grounds that amplify […]

How Writers Can Infuse Mood in Story Settings

Note From KMW: Mood will influence every moment of your story. It will create (and be created by) your story’s tone. It will determine the nuances of your story’s narrative voice. And it will help create both pacing and foreshadowing, by guiding readers to experience and anticipate what you want them to. Naturally, this only works when […]

5 Tips for Writing a Likable "Righteous" Character

16 Ways to Make Your Setting a Character in Its Own Right

Writers hear it all the time: you must make your setting a character in its own right. But golly boy howdy, what does that even mean? It means: the setting is supposed to come to life—to be rich, vibrant, catalytic. It means: the details of the places in your story are supposed to leap off the […]

4 Reasons You Should Outline Your Settings

4 Reasons You Should Outline Your Settings

When you think of all the important story elements you need to outline, setting may not be at the top of your list. It might not even be on your list. But it should be. Setting provides the foundation for every other important element in your story—starting  with plot, character, and theme, and progressing right on down […]

Find Out When It's A Good Idea to Use A Made-Up Setting

Find Out When It’s a Good Idea to Use a Made-Up Setting

Too often, writers take the old adage “write what you know” to mean they should never do anything so rash as to, you know, make stuff up. At the very least, shouldn’t you adhere to reality whenever a corresponding reality exists, as, for example, when it comes to the choice between a real-life setting and […]

How To Choose An Immersive Setting

4 Ways to Choose the Right Story Setting

Most writers don’t have too much trouble when it comes to how to choose the right story setting for their books. Middle Earth; Maycomb, Alabama; Hogwarts—it’s often fairly obvious which locations will serve the needs of the story; then it’s just as matter of picking the best one. But what about the rest of the settings? […]

Most Common Mistakes Series, Pt. 47

Most Common Mistakes Series, Pt. 47: Ineffective Setting Descriptions

You can’t write a good setting without a good description. That’s the way it rolls. In written literature, what is setting if not description? How do you convey it without description of some sort? For something so relatively intuitive, setting descriptions can end up being surprisingly tricky to detail effectively. For one thing, you have […]

Learn How NOT to Waste Your Story Setting’s Full Potential

This week’s video talks about how Dennis Lehane’s Shutter Island benefited from a full and imaginative use of its story setting—and how you can add the same value to your own book. Video Transcript: Story setting should never be a throwaway decision. Your setting is going to influence every page you write. Not only does […]

2 Ways to Make the Most of Your Story’s Climactic Setting

This week’s video points out some little-known considerations about creating an awesome and perfectly planned climactic setting for your story. Video Transcript: If we think of a story as sort of like a funnel, then the climax is the very tip of that funnel. In short, there’s not much room down there. Whatever is going […]