Hello! Today I'm going to be sharing another writing tip with you- something I am hoping to turn into a regular feature, here on my blog. Previously I've shared my writing tips on characters, and I also did a mini blog series on how I found inspiration to write my novel-in-progress, Frozen Sea, which included a lot of the settings that appear in the book. Today, I am going to talk about finding inspiration to create your own settings, or how to use places you already know, to include in your story.
The first thing you need to think about is, what kind of atmosphere or meaning you are trying to get out of your story. In this sense, the setting is pivotal. If you're trying to write a horror story, and the main setting is a fluffy pink land of marshmallows, the atmosphere vital to a horror story will definitely be lacking. Setting shouldn't be a separate entity from your novel writing. It should be interwoven in every decision you make: your choice of characters, the plot twists, who speaks and the mood you are aiming to create. At the end of the day, every reader will interpret your work differently, so there's no use worrying endlessly that your setting isn't quite right. Start writing, and the place where the action occurs will sort of spring up, as if it had been there all along. In writing, what comes naturally is normally what the readers will love best.
However, once you have a general idea about the setting you want to use, it is worth polishing your ideas and refining what kind of experience you want the readers to get out of it. If your novel is futuristic or dystopian, you have the flexibility and freedom to experiment a bit more. Don't be afraid to take risks. With dystopian novels, it is kind of impossible to be too adventurous. Your readers are looking for a read that will take them to another world... sometimes, quite literally. Using other planets or even galaxies as your setting gives almost limitless opportunities to make your novel whatever you want it to be. If you are writing a historical novel, you need to do a bit more research. Go to your local library, and there will be loads of books you can use as research to make the setting of your historical novel that little bit more vibrant. It may seem like a lot of effort, but your writing will definitely improve as a result.
Finally, the most important thing to remember about setting is that consistency is key. If you don't know your setting that well, you will find yourself getting confused about what it is exactly that you are writing about. The key thing here is to not overcomplicate things. When I'm writing, I tend to limit myself to a few essential places: a café, a school, a church, a park ect... Just so your readers won't become confused by the sheer amount of places you are introducing them to. Remember, your setting is not the main ingredient of your story. It is the vanilla essence (if you will excuse the clichéd metaphor) in a cake made up of various different ingredients, mixed together to make it great. Your readers are analysing your words, not your setting.
I hope you have enjoyed this little post, and please do comment below if this was helpful in any way. Not everyone knows everything, so if you feel as if I have missed out on something important please tell me- you might help somebody else (and myself) in the process!
Until next time :)