Updated: Jan 28
A scene from The Skin I live in 2011 (Source)
In the previous article, we talked about the plot and I thought its time to dedicate an article to the setting as along with the plot, character, and style, the setting is considered one of the main components of fiction. Now tell me, have you ever imagined yourself living in the house of Bilbo Baggins in a hobbit village in Tolkien's fictional universe? It's an example of how settings attract readers' imaginations and help a literary world come to life. This is why, the setting can be called a story world or milieu to demonstrate a context beyond the immediate environment of the story such as culture, geography, historical period, and hour, language, norms, politics, etc. Now, what is the Setting?
What is Setting?
To simplify it, the setting has two main elements of time and space, which means where and when the events of your chapters unfold. It's also the background against which the action happens. Setting can be found in both fiction and nonfiction and it is a literary element that builds the main mood of a story.
Remember that novels or any longer works, normally, have multiple settings. For example, in my novel ENARO, I have a different timeline, worlds, and geographical locations and each has its own characteristics and mood such as Nro buildings, Los Angeles, some regions of Russia, an alternative universe, different historical periods, and events,...
The setting of a story helps demonstrate important information about the world that impacts other literary elements, like plot and theme. For example, the story of the Red Dead Redemption 2 game which is set in 1899 in a fictionalized representation of the Western, Midwestern, and Southern USA will likely have a much different atmosphere and plot than a science fiction game like Cyberpunk 2077 that takes place in Night City, an open world set in the Cyberpunk futuristic universe. And YES! games have a storyline as well and we can discuss them along with books and movies. There are even works in which the setting became a character such as the house that becomes the antagonist in Edgar Allen Poe's short story, "The Fall of the House of Usher" becomes the story's antagonist. Cool, isn't it?
Elements of setting
I'd like to mention the elements of the setting in a more colorful way:)
So, each of these elements needs to be looked at separately and then linked to each other. After all, the historical period may define and impact the story world and the mood.
How to Create Richer Story Setting
For each of the aspects demonstrated in the diagram above, you need to make sure you follow these steps to create a great setting:
1. Research where your story is taking place
Research the place you are writing about. If it’s a real-world location then your life is easy. Just google about it and also, I recommend using Google Map to get a real feel of the location using street view IF you've never been to that place. When I say research you should look in-depth about: