How to Build your Books Setting


Your books setting is as important as the plot.


It needs to be: strong, innovative and imaginative


You must ensure you take time really getting to know your setting; enough to bring it alive on paper. Getting to know your setting is similar to getting to know your characters.


Know your main location:

First of all, you need to know your main location. You need to give an overall view and image of your location; summing it up in a few brief sentences. At this point, no specifics are necessarily needed. All you need is a brief overview of the beginnings of your main location and setting. Think about what image you want your readers to get from your main location.



Once you have your main location, you can begin to think about what’s surrounding and beyond this. This surrounding area will be things your characters may see out of their window or where they may visit on a daily basis. The surroundings of the main location will have a huge impact on the story and the feel to it.


Principal locations: 

Going into even more detail; find the principal locations within your main location. These can be locations such as a main characters house, their workplace, a bar they visit daily, or anything else. These key locations must fit the character. Try to make them as interesting and as original as you can; pointing out singular details that make the location stand out from the rest.



Does your main character work full time? If so, you need to factor in the location of their workplace. You must know the workplace well, as it is a completely new setting whenever they’re there; which may be quite a lot. You need to know details of how they perform their jobs and any quirky characteristics of the workplace.



Nature can play quite an important role in your book. This can depend on the main location of your book; however, the weather can also play a big role in creating pathetic fallacy. You need your book to be authentic, so if you’re planning on writing about the nature in your main setting; do some research first or plan it. Everything to do with nature will help create an atmospheric setting.



Your setting needs to have soul. Much like your characters, your setting needs to be 3D not 2D. It can be effective to try and humanise objects such as main characters cars or houses, as it can make the characters feel even more real. Adding a soul to your settings and all the small details in your book simply turns it into a unique, alive book.


You need to plan your setting as much as you possibly can. It needs to be effective enough to enable your readers to properly envisage it and imagine themselves in the locations you describe.


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