NaNoSetting #3: The Impact of a Setting

We have three things to talk about today: history, scenes, and impact.

Let’s start with history.

When you’re making a setting, it’s not just about the where, but also the when. How much has your setting changed from a hundred years ago? A thousand years ago? What events in the history of your land have changed the setting? Was there a great outburst of fires? Was there a razing of a magical forest?

Remember to include your history in your setting. Not just the physical things, too. Include magical things, political things, things that have had little impact, and things that have had huge impact.

Now, let’s talk a little bit about writing your setting into your story.

You should know that you don’t want to dump your whole setting onto the reader all at once. You want to slide it into the story, so that, in the end, the reader goes, “Wow. That was one good setting. I didn’t even realize it, but as I was reading, the author was putting more and more setting into my mind!” Or something like that.

The point is, you want the reader to go away with a good sense of setting without even knowing that they’re being told things about the setting. In other words, you want such a good setting that YOU don’t have to think about writing about setting, but it automatically gets written into your story.

If you can achieve this, you’re gold.

How do you make your setting so good, so whole, so complete, though? It requires a lot of work, let me tell you. You must slave over this setting (if it’s imagined or not). You must know everything about it. Every detail in the scene, every detail in the history of the place, every detail in how the setting will change your characters.

You. Must. Know. Every. Detail.

That’s it, plain and simple.

How about we spend some time on impact now?

This is a broad subject. As there are only ten days left to NaNoWriMo, I will leave you with this last thing to think about. Impact. Impact. Impact.

What impact will your setting have on your plot, your characters, your story? What will your setting do to change the direction of your story? How will it influence it?

There are endless questions, but I trust you to find the right one.

Now. This brings us to the end of NaNoSetting. I know there are millions of things to talk about more, but hopefully I have covered the basics, and hopefully you know just a bit more about setting and how to work with it.

Thank you for reading, and Happy Setting and Writing!

~ J. Dominique


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