The setting of any scene within your writing can do a lot more than create a space for your characters to move around in. Here’s how you can make your setting work harder:
- Reveal Character: If this is a personal space to your character then everything there can reveal character, from the photos they have on their wall to their choice of cutlery. If this is an unfamiliar place for your character, what in particular do they notice about it; what do they find strange, what do they find familiar?
- Reveal Time/Place: Your choice of setting can be used to instantly transport your reader to a particular time or place. Even in fantasy/futuristic settings your choice of surroundings and objects can denote country and culture, while your choice of technology can suggest a particular period of history.
- Reveal Genre: Certain settings are synonymous with particular genres and can pull your reader straight into your writing.
- Reveal Mood: There are certain genres, such as horror, that use this more than others, but time of day, weather, temperature can all be used to reveal mood. Think about how the setting effects the mood of your characters.
- Reveal/Conceal Plot: You can place items that will become important later on in your settings. If someone gets shot at the end, where is that gun at the beginning? In the same way, you can also hide plot items, or set up for surprise twists later on.
But don’t let your setting take over your novel. Use it to hint at things, use it to compliment your writing, don’t let it become the main character in itself.
Making Your Setting Work Harder