Right now, I’m going through each scene in my story and reviewing the setting. Where does the scene take place? Have I identified the place? Have I described it so the reader can get a feel for it?
I’ve already identified the towns or cities where scenes take place, but what I’m working on now is more specific. And more integral to the action and the story.
Setting serves different purposes. First it grounds the scene. Readers already know (or think they know) something about what will happen based on where it occurs. Is it a conversation over dinner at the kitchen table? Or in an elegant ballroom? Is it a seedy motel room or a suite at the Ritz? A dingy front hall or an elegant foyer?
Setting can also tell readers something about the characters. One of my characters has an office in his home and that office is paneled with dark wood and the shelves that go all the way up to the ceiling are overflowing with books. The walls are covered with diplomas and citations. The room smells faintly of pipe smoke. Does that tell you something about the character? Does it surprise you to know he is a college professor? Probably not.
I’m also considering weather, time of day, light, and even the smell of some of the places. A scene that happens on the street in a blowing snowstorm has a different feeling than one that happens on a front porch on a summer evening. Really, the same thing can happen but it would have a different feel. I’m working to make sure what I write feels the way I imagine it to be.
If I’ve done my job well, the setting will enhance my novel and be as important as any character in telling the story.
Thanks for following the journey! I welcome feedback and suggestions.
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