The Place is the Thing

The setting of a novel often plays a large role in the story. Sometimes the setting is almost a character. Think, for example, of survival stories. The sea, jungle, or frozen tundra become an antagonist. At other times the setting serves to create the mood. A story on an island can highlight isolation. A story set in the city can provide an endless buffet of quirky characters. One story I’ve been working on takes place in the forest. I had to think carefully about how the forest would influence the characters’ behavior.  I even wrote in the forest occasionally to get in the proper mindset


My other story is set in the wide open plains of the Western U.S. and Canada.

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Inspiration for this is harder to come by near my pine-clad Southeastern home. Sometimes I would write at the lake because it is the only wide open space around.

A writer doesn’t usually write in the environment of the story. Unless the story is about a crowded coffee shop, that is. It is important to rely on memories and even pictures to get the right feel. This feel may never show up overtly in the story, but it helps add realism.

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