So in my last blog I discussed the use of settings to include: setting the scene visually, providing information about your character, evoking mood and establishing the time period the novel is written in. It also can be used to foreshadow and to provide a metaphor(Animal Farm and The Majestic are good examples).
How you use setting, depends on the purpose of your narrative.
You should provide lavish detail for important scenes, settings that you will be going back to time and time again, and settings that are new to the reader requiring more detail to visualize in their minds.
Use only a line or two for less important settings that you will only be visiting once or settings your reader is already familiar with.
The novel I am writing is set in modern day and uses settings that are familiar to the people who would be reading the story. i.e. They ate at IHOP. When I say IHOP, I don’t have to provide a lot of detail because everybody knows IHOP and immediately conjures it up in their mind.
While I am in no way putting myself on the same level as the writer Jane Austin, I found it amusing that in her book Pride and Prejudice, she didn’t put a lot of detail in her settings. Why you may wonder. She knew her readers at the time the book was written and knew they would be able to visualize the places she referred to without a lot of description 🙂
Remember if you are creating a world, you will have to stop the story and provide your readers with some details. Draw a picture in their minds so they can visualize where they are and what’s going on. That’s not a bad thing, just a lot more work. Most SciFi is make believe worlds with make believe people and we eat it up. Draw us in and make sure we can keep up. Read some well known SciFi novels as a reference on how to set up your world.
Settings are important. Hope this got you to think about them a little more.
I would love to hear from you. Your comments are welcome. Like many of you I am in the middle of a revision and on the road to publication. I have spent the last five years learning how to write. It’s not as easy as it looks.
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