A Guide to Choosing the Setting for Your Story
Choosing a setting for your story is a weighted decision, as it can significantly impact your narrative’s overall tone and atmosphere. Setting can help to distinguish your characters, move your plot along and set the mood for differing scenes in your story.
Our easy-to-follow guide will walk you through a number of steps to help ensure that you choose the best setting for your story.
Consider the genre
The genre of your story can help you narrow down a vast number of location choices. For example, a science-fiction tale may be set in a futuristic city or on a distant planet, while a romance story may occur in a quaint small town or a bustling city. Be sure to match the setting to the genre to keep your reader on track.
Think about the mood
Most of the time, the setting plays a vital part in determining the mood of your narrative. For example, a dark and gloomy environment can create a sense of foreboding and mystery, while a bright and cheerful setting can convey a sense of optimism and hope.
Look for inspiration
Inspiration for your setting can come from a variety of sources, such as real-life locations, other books, movies and TV shows. You can also use your imagination to add an element of originality and creativity. Consider what settings interest you and how you think they will fit your story.
Research the setting
If you’re choosing a real-life location, do some research to ensure that you accurately depict the area. Some helpful ideas for research include studying maps, reading travel guides, and looking up historical information. You can find such information in libraries and public archives.
Consider the time period
The time period of your story can also impact the setting. For example, if your story takes place in the past, you’ll need to consider what the location looked like during that time period and what cultural and societal norms existed. Research is once again vital here; you can find written accounts from that era to help you, or, if in the not-too-distant past, talk with people who live or lived there.
Think about how the setting will impact your characters
The setting can also impact your characters and their motivations. For example, a sentimental location filled with childhood memories might reveal a completely different side to your villain, whilst a frightening and unknown place might show your hero’s weakness. Considering how the setting will affect your characters’ actions and decisions will help your writing to shine.
Choosing a setting for your story involves considering the genre, mood, inspiration, research, time period, and character impact. By considering these factors, you can write a setting that will enhance your story and captivate your readers.