"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?