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"A vivid and memorable setting can turn a good novel into a great one" (link).

Okay...so maybe there won’t be a dead body in the office. Hell. I’m not even sure there’s a office at this point. But setting is an important element when it comes to the novel.

Space Opera? Are we talking about a rag tag fugitive fleet of humans running from certain destruction by a fleet of cyborgs? An amazingly evil empire trying to take over the universe gets decimated by a cobbled together fleet of rebellious star fighters and smugglers?

Horror? Are you interested in what happens if a vampire suddenly gets it into his head that a Caribbean vacation might be fun? (Rum Runners anyone??) Demons are interested in taking over the country by undercutting the very foundations upon which that country was built?

Romance? A young woman gets pissed off by a young man’s overbearing sense of pride...and they spend the rest of the story trying to fight the realization that they actually love each other?

Noir? Maltese Falcon, anybody?

War? A guy owns a bar in the middle of a war...and there’s gambling?

Anyhow, one of the things all of these different story lines have in common is that there is a setting. A place where the action happens. Where the hero/heroine gets kissed. Where the villan/demon finally gets overthrown by the subversive rebels intent on taking their country back.

One thing I do is wander around and take photographs of items that I think might be interesting spots where some of my action can take place. These places may or may not appear as they really are. After all, it’s fiction...and I get to create my own reality. For me, places like the Uptown:

offer my own town a point of interest.

Here are some links that might help you work on creating your own setting:
How to Describe Setting in Fiction
The Importance of Setting
Setting: The Key to Science Fiction
15 Ways to Improve the Setting in Your Fiction Writing
Mapping a Fictional Location

I do know that there’s a corner bookstore. It’s red brick. There’s also a diner owned by a guy named Joe. Also there’s a coffee shop...kinda spun off of the Daily Grind in Fell’s Point region in Baltimore.  

And naturally...there’s a pirate ship...even if it is only buried within the historic records. And there is definitely rum...there must always be rum.

And as yet...no dead body. And no office. But hey...there's still time.

18 days and counting til NaNoWriMo begins again.

Do you know where your setting is?

Originally posted to kredwyn on Sat Oct 13, 2007 at 06:59 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Just got back from the RenFaire... (6+ / 0-)

    and I have pirate music, Rogues music, and a blanket of dust all over me.

    But I came up with some interesting lines and thoughts as I ducked and wove around the masses of non-faire types.

    Also...if you get a chance to see these guys? The only joke that was missing was the wide stance. Every other bit was there from Craig's adventures in the airport to well...everything else.

    "Computer. End holographic program...Computer? Computer?"

    by kredwyn on Sat Oct 13, 2007 at 07:02:12 PM PDT

  •  It's Almost November? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shadan7, kredwyn

    Thanks, Kredwyn, for all the good links and a mental health reminder.

    It really helped me last weekend to go back to a mss from last year, to a setting I love, and get myself away from the bu$hcabal & Iraq/Blackwater, etc, etc, etc.  

    •  18 days and counting... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NearlyNormal, Empower Ink

      And it seems to be flying by. I'm a co-ML for my region and we had our ML meeting re: the Kick Off party as well as loose discussions on the TGIO party.

      Phew...am really glad that this region is a self-motivating one that comes up with its own write-ins.

      Glad to have helped. Mine lat year was part CT...part shadowy secret intel organization with wet works ops. This one's a bit more relaxed.

      "Computer. End holographic program...Computer? Computer?"

      by kredwyn on Sat Oct 13, 2007 at 07:28:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mine's... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kredwyn, NearlyNormal

    ...in this vicinity.  More about that here.  Kinda hard for me to pop out to take pix, but I actually got all the science right, according to the most recent data...

    Read my SF novel for free. (-7.13/-7.33)

    by Shadan7 on Sat Oct 13, 2007 at 07:25:02 PM PDT

  •  Thanks (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kredwyn, NearlyNormal

    Thanks for the helpful links.  

    I've been struggling with striking the right balance between too much and not enough description of settings in a project that I'm working on.

    One thing that I've been doing is collecting images on the web, and placing them in a folder.  Images of objects, places, or moods.  Even for scifi, it's amazing how many images you can collect that help to evoke a place or a mood.  (And I don't mean just artist rendered illustrations, either.)

    Some of my favorite places to search are:
    Flickrleech
    This one is mainly for browsing, but is also useful for getting inspiration (or for procrastinating).  I use it to collect images for future projects.

    YotoPhoto
    This lets you search on a subject, and is the only one I know of that also lets you search on a color.

    Stock Xchange
    These are less polished images, but you can search by a wide variety of topics -- and the images are copyright free.  (You have to register to be able to download images, but it's free.)

    I'm not concerned with publishing these images, so size or resolution or worrying about copyrights is not a concern.  I collect them so that they help me visualize a world, or a place in that world at the beginning of my writing process, when I'm still trying to figure out what all is going to be in the story.  I set them up as slide shows, so I can shuffle through them, and it's a useful exercise for me to go through occasionally during the writing process.

    •  Have been wandering around (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NearlyNormal

      the intertubes picking up pictures here and there of folks that I think would be interesting characters. The Colin Firth of Bridget Jones is a whole different persona than the Colin Firth of Girl with a Pearl Earring.

      Firth as Vermeer looks like he might make an interesting pirate/gun runner for the 2nd Jacobite Rising.

      "Computer. End holographic program...Computer? Computer?"

      by kredwyn on Sat Oct 13, 2007 at 07:36:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks! Neat links. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kredwyn
  •  THE UPTOWN!!!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kredwyn

    God I love that theater it rocks!!

    "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism." Howard Zinn

    by FrankieB on Sat Oct 13, 2007 at 09:39:55 PM PDT

  •  Pssst...put Joe Scarborough in your story. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kredwyn, hopscotch1997

    Then you WILL have a body in the office.

    "You'd better get this straight. Wise up before it's too late." - Sister Sledge.

    by Andy Lewis on Sat Oct 13, 2007 at 10:07:15 PM PDT

    •  Heh (0+ / 0-)

      If there does wind up being a body in the office, I'll make sure that one of the people involved will be named Joe.

      "Computer. End holographic program...Computer? Computer?"

      by kredwyn on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 04:45:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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