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

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 […]