What is a setting? Your elementary school English teacher probably said it’s the where and when of a story. True. But as a writer, we know that the setting is more than just the where and when. The weather and social climate can also be part of the setting. It can be to mood and emotions that the characters can’t express. It can be pure beauty, when a great writer and reader are paired up. The setting can speak to our souls as much as any character. It can make the reader long to live in that little cottage in the woods surrounded by fairies or in the bustling 1920’s city of Chicago. The setting can be so alive that it feels like a character in and of itself.
"I imagined the broken rocks as the broken bodies of my enemies, the bones shattered, their trembling arms reaching upward in a useless gesture of total and complete defeat. I was a very odd little girl."
As explored last week, characters are the heart of our stories. We gravitate toward like minded people, even fictional ones. Some of my best friends, the ones who get me, who think like me, who yearn like me, are fictional characters. Think of Anne of Green Gables. Who hasn't made mistakes before? We promise to not make mistakes again, only to turn right around and make an even bigger mistake! Who hasn't had a Mrs. Blewett in her life, or contrastingly, a Matthew Cuthbert?
Let us take a deep dive into crafting description well. I can’t say that I’m an expert at it yet, but I’ve been paying attention and reading up on this for quite some time now. I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned.