Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Not the Resident Setting Expert

I'm with Tracy on this topic--setting is definitely not my strong suit. I tend to focus more on dialogue--both internal and external--when I'm writing a scene. But that's not to say that setting isn't important. See, while the emotion of a scene is kind of like the skeleton, the setting helps to add flesh to your scene's "body."

OK, that's kind of a weird example. But what I mean is that a scene can't exist solely on two people talking in a vacuum. Now, depending on the book (and certainly what's happening in the plot at that particular instance), setting will be more important than others. For A BUMP IN THE ROAD and NOT READY FOR MOM JEANS, setting was important but not make-or-break. But if I was writing fantasy, let's say, obviously where the events were taking place would be much more crucial. (One reason why I'm looking forward to Lesley's post this week--our resident fantasy expert!)

I tend to set my scenes in not just logical places, but also places that I find fun. For example, in A BUMP IN THE ROAD, there is a scene where my main character, her husband and her in-laws all go to a Cubs game. Was it entirely necessary that this conversation took place at a baseball game? Probably not. But being a huge Cubs fan myself, I thought it would be fun to write a scene in a place that I'm all-too-familiar with. It's those little personal details infused into a story that really makes it come to life for me.

Not to mention, my first two books are set in Chicago, where I grew up. So, I guess, setting is one way to not only add life to your story, but a neat way to sneak in some little near-and-dear snippets!


Tracy Madison said...

You're so right...in certain genres (and types of books within all genres), setting is way more important than in others. It's one of the reasons why I'm in awe of fantasy writers. All that world building just amazes me!

Jillian Cantor said...

Setting seems like a whole different ballgame in fantasy, but I also think that would be part of the fun in writing it. Interesting that you and Tracy agree. . . I wonder if I'm the only NG obsessed with setting!

Lisa Patton said...

I'm with you totally on setting your book in your hometown. It comes across like in a way no other city can!!