Sample Sunday – About Your Book’s Setting

Roxanne's Space

About Your Book’s Setting

Book Setting

The Silent Character

By Roxanne Smolen

The setting of your book should be treated as a character. Does your story take place during a hurricane? An avalanche? A drought? Are you in a city of glass skyscrapers or a seedy neighborhood? In the immortal words of Sir Alexander Dane, you’re just going to have to figure out what it wants. What is its motivation?

I like to do character sketches. My main characters get a five page questionnaire to fill out. My minor characters get a five point brief: Physical Features, Personality, Likes/Dislikes, Family history, Beliefs.

Let’s revisit that seedy neighborhood to see how knowing your setting can enhance the ambiance of your story.

Physical Features

Seedy Street #1 — residential, cracked sidewalk, broken streetlamps, houses are older, mostly duplexes, built close to each other, close to the street, front yards are six-foot squares with a…

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