Writing Active Settings

Mary Buckham

Remember the last novel you read where you were so deep into the world of the story you didn’t want to leave it? Where you felt you could hear and taste and touch what the characters heard, tasted and touched? I call this Active Setting and something that some writers do so well and others, not so well.

What is Active Setting and how can it make a difference in our novels?

Setting can add so much to your story world or it can add nothing. When creating Active Setting we’re looking to add subtext in our writing, a deeper way for your reader to experience your story. Instead of simply describing a place or thing for the sake of description, look closely at how to maximize what we are showing the reader.

It’s amazing what Active Setting can do to enhance a story or, with the lack of it, flatline your novel.  Elements of Active Setting can include:

*  Details that matter. Don’t focus your reader on something that isn’t pertinent to your story.  Setting should show characterization, or conflict, or emotion, or foreshadow, or be there for a reason, instead of simply to describe placement of objects in space.

*  Our role as a writer is to create the world of our stories so that the reader not only sees it but experiences the details that matter.

*  As writers let your POV characters interact with the setting, move through it, pick things up and brush past them, etc.

* Whenever there’s an introduction of a setting that’s different for the POV character, or for the reader, spend a few words of description to orient  the reader, don’t make them guess where the characters are.

Make your Settings matter and your whole novel can benefit.

So what about you? What does Setting mean to you as you write?  As you read?  Feel free to comment and out of those who do comment one name will be drawn for a free Kindle copy of WRITING ACTIVE SETTING: Book 1 Characterization and Sensory Detail.

For more information on the book it’s available now on Amazon for less than the cost of a latte, or Mary will be teaching a two-week course on WRITING ACTIVE SETTING in February through www.WriterUniv.com .

Mary’s BIO:

Mary Buckham is an award-winning fiction writer,  author of the recently released WRITING ACTIVE SETTING: Book 1,  co-author with Dianna Love of BREAK INTO FICTION: ™: 11 Steps to Building a Story That Sells from Adams Media, co-founder of www.WriterUniv.com and a highly sought after instructor both on-line and at live workshops around the country. To find out more about Mary, her workshops and writing projects visit www.MaryBuckham.com

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One Comment

  1. this really got ideas flowing in me! made me realize I was starting in the wrong place with my settings – that I should be starting with my Characters, with their attributes which could possibly be conveyed by elements of a setting, and going from there to build my settings and pick what I describe in them!