What Setting Can Do For Your Story

blackSetting.  Its the place where your story takes place, but if you play it right, you’re setting can be so much more.

Mood.  Have you ever noticed how some authors use the setting for instant mood.  Need spooky?  Place your character in a cemetery.   Cheerful?  A beach in bright sunshine.

Character.  It can also reveal a lot about a character.  Set your story in a middle school and we have a pretty good idea how old your teen character is.  Likewise, if your story opens at the animal shelter where your character volunteers, we know a thing or two.

Until now, I really couldn’t have added much more to this list, but this morning I finished reading The Drowning House by  Elizabeth Black  (Nan A Talese/Doubleday, 2012).  Thanks to Black’s masterful debut novel, I can also add…

Foreshadowing.  Black’s book is about a character who is finding out about her family’s past.  What she learns about the history of the setting, Galveston, mirrors the history of her own family and the mistakes made in the distant past hint at similar mistakes she very nearly made.

Read more about Black’s work on the Muffin post .  I posted there today with a book review that goes into a bit more detail about how this writer uses her plot to its fullest.

Me? I’ve got a book to re-read.


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