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

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

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 […]

3 Must-Know Ways for Creating Meaningful Settings in Your Novel

3 Must-Know Ways for Creating Meaningful Settings in Your Novel

Sad but true, setting in novels is mostly ignored. It’s as if writers feel they must sacrifice attention to setting on the altar of getting the story moving, but nothing could be further from the truth. The settings in your novel serve a number of very powerful functions in your scenes, and that’s why setting is an […]

The Secret of Choosing the Right Setting for Your Story's Climax

The 5 Secrets of Choosing the Right Setting for Your Story’s Climax

When you plan your story’s climax, the first thing to come to mind might not be the setting. Too often, the climactic setting is an afterthought. The action, after all, is what’s most important–not where it takes place. But setting can make or break any scene in your story, and this is nowhere more true than […]

How to Create a Surefire Awesome Setting

This week’s video offers suggestions for balancing the perception that reader dislike setting description with the reality that every book needs a vivid setting. Video Transcript: We hear a lot of chatter these days about description being a bad thing. Writers don’t dare include more than a skimpy paragraph of setting description lest readers cry foul and claim the […]

How to Decide if You Should Use a Real-Life Setting in Your Story

How to Decide if You Should Use a Real-Life Setting in Your Story

Today, I’m posting over on AuthorCulture, with the post “Should You Use a Real-Life Setting for Your Story?” Here’s an excerpt: Speculative authors don’t give a second thought to creating settings out of thin air. They create whole planets when their stories demand them. But even authors writing within the confines of the “real world” are sometimes […]

Illustrate Your Character Through His Surroundings

This week’s video takes an example from George Eliot’s debut novel Adam Bede to show how you can illustrate your character through his surroundings. Video Transcription: One of my favorite parts of watching a movie is the opportunity to spy on the main character’s familiar surroundings. His home, his bedroom, and his office all present […]