If you are struggling with creating a setting for your story or next book, try these five tips for your writing that help with setting the scene!
1. Sensory Details
Using the five senses can help set the scene for chapters and locations for your story. The audience will be engaged when describing tastes, visuals, and smells. If its a common area such as a public school, hospital, bus, these places have distinct senses that we all are accustomed to. To make your setting realistic, the five senses can go a long way into relaying a place.
2. Show Don’t Tell
It’s one thing to just say exactly what is in front of you, it’s another thing to describe it. For example, if you were to describe the laundromat, you don’t want to just say the laundromat. You may want to explain the smell of laundry detergent, or the washing machines moving fast, soap suds, people folding clothes, loud noises of hot air etc. Describing the image, showing us where you are instead of just sayin the actual word, gives a more powerful image for readers to enjoy.
3. Use Real Life Locations
You may have difficulty even creating your own setting in the first place. That’s okay, many authors have used references to actual places, or real life locations themselves to create the setting for their characters. For example, using New York city as your reference or real life location gives you so much descriptive material, many readers who reside in New York city will understand references to certain places only in New York. Or if someone isn’t familiar with New York they will have a better description of places and will one day visit. Definitely do your research when using a real location for your book or story.
4. Figurative Language
Have you heard of the phrase “It’s raining cats and dogs”? That is an example of figurative language. As writers its good to go the direct route and describe certain places or feelings with obvious sentences. However, figurative language can spice up the setting and how the characters are interacting in it. Phrases such as ‘piece of cake’ or ‘cool as a cucumber’ are common uses of figurative language for characters. Phrases like ‘trees dancing in the wind’ can describe setting. Before using any figurative language, ask yourself why are you using it specifically here and why its needed.
5. Keep Things Simple
Sometimes we think that we need to drown our writing in description. However, sometimes less is more. There are times in writing where we need to describe in great detail where we are. However, being direct and simple is the best way, especially if your characters are revisiting a place they already have been to. You don’t want your writing to be too wordy or overly descriptive.
Unless its really necessary to bring your character into a certain fictional world, then simple is best until its not needed in a certain place. simplicity is a good skill to practice, you want your readers to navigate through the world you envisioned, its easiest to make important details stand out that are essential to the entirety of the book.
Use these five tips as guiding tools for your next writing adventure. Keep writing and practice setting.
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