The prospect of creating a richly intricate and realistic setting can seem daunting at first, but it’s well worth every second of our time. It can be as simple as a child’s bedroom, with glow in the dark stars stuck to the ceiling and a toy box spilling over with stuffed animals, or an entire city brimming with vibrancy and life. In either case, thought, it is the detail that matters most. As with every part of writing, we constantly skirt a fine line between too much description and not enough. I mean, if a story takes place in a forest is it really necessary to describe every tree that a character walks past? On the other hand, if a story takes place in a city but the reader isn’t given a single inkling to suggest this, they’re not going to be able to visualize the characters interacting with their environment.
Perhaps We’re All Insane
Me and my writer in cahoots, (who I mentioned in an earlier post, but let’s just call him Gerald, for old time’s sake) began our largest endeavor over five years ago. It spans five continents, countless nations, innumerable cities and towns, and I’m not even sure we’ve scratched the surface of what it has to offer. On the other hand, it took me only a few sittings to develop Nuark, the fictional city I created for this blog’s project, but I’m still smoothing out the rougher edges. What I’m trying to say is, whether the plan is to create an entire world or just one city, our job as writers is never done. There will be details we have to hone and places we have to create even after we think we’re done.
You see, between the two of us, Gerald is sort of like our scribe. He jots down all our crazy ideas and saves them for later reference. I think this is the key to creating any setting. As soon as an idea comes to you, write it down. Otherwise, if you’re like me and him, you’re going to forget it. There’s just so many other thoughts floating around up there, that a detail as small as a town or landmark’s name is going to become lost in the jumble.
Setting might not seem like such a priority in a mostly character driven market, but I feel it’s just as important. Think of a story’s setting as its backbone; without it, the story cannot stand on its own. Because of this, I pay it the same amount of attention I would any other part of my work. My characters need a world to interact with and it has to be consistent and believable, otherwise my readers will be able to sense the disconnect.
That's all for now,
A Fellow Writer.