If you want to make the most out of your setting, think about your character. In this post, we’ve put together 20 questions characters should answer about setting.
A setting is the backbone of your story. Without it, you would have ‘talking heads’ in a vacuum. Setting can be defined as the physical location and time of a story.
Sometimes, writers create a setting without thinking if the characters fit into the setting and if the setting suits the story.
Lack Of Setting Details
We discussed the unintended consequences of a lack of setting details in memoirs. These apply to characters in stories as well.
A character who is not grounded in an environment may create these problems for readers:
- They will not be able to relate to the character. The way your character interacts with the environment, what they notice, what they like, what impresses them, and what scares them, makes them more real.
- They will not notice details. Readers love details. Details make the setting seem genuine. They offer a concrete sense of place that allows them to experience the story vicariously. Use the setting details and environment to create a mood in your story.
- They will feel the characters are too static. If you have an interactive setting that your character notices, it is easier to give them things to do while they’re talking and thinking.
To help you find out if your setting makes sense to your characters, let them answer these questions.
20 Questions Characters Should Answer About Setting
- Where am I?
- What do I like about the setting?
- What do I dislike about the setting?
- What is the geography around me?
- What are my 10 favourite possessions in this setting?
- What can I taste?
- What can I touch?
- What can I smell?
- What can I see?
- What can I hear?
- What are the prominent colours in my environment?
- Am I in the right place to achieve my story goal?
- Who is with me?
- What are the weather conditions and will they help or hinder me in any way?
- Is the setting permanent?
- What are the threats to the setting?
- Do I fit into the culture in the setting?
- What electronic equipment do I have access to?
- What do I see if I look up?
- What do I see if I look down?
These questions will help you to settle your character into their setting. You can also use their answers to add layers to your stories.
Ask the questions. Let your characters answer them. Use what you learn to enrich your novels, short stories, and screenplays.
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© Amanda Patterson
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