Setting

Set The Stage

Believe it or not, choosing the right setting is one of the most important decisions to make when planning a scene. The location can add mood, supply tension and conflict, steer the plot, characterize, foreshadow, and even provide a way to dribble in backstory. Going with the first thing that comes to mind is often easier but may rob the scene of added depth. Locations that are frequently used in books and film may also bore readers.

For your next important scene, make a list of twenty possible locations. Brainstorm some that have personal meaning to one or more characters as this can affect their emotional state in the scene. Play with weather elements, time, and the quality of light (and shadow) to further customize your setting. Challenge yourself to find the perfect fit and it will pay off by powering up the scene and offering readers a fresh experience.


Discuss this exercise

Feel inspired? Share your story below.

Similar Exercises

Get your creative juices flowing with these similar creative writing exercises.

Setting

A Tall, Dark Stranger

Write a scene where your character is speaking to a complete stranger. Immediately after, write a scene where your character is speaking to a loved one. Notice how their behavior changes.

Setting

Break Through The Block

Think of writer's block as a symptom, not a condition that can’t be remedied. When we’re stuck and can’t get to our creative work, there’s usually a reason — and therefore a way to move …

Setting

Musicals

Your character’s story has been Disney-fied. At what point in the arc does your protagonist break out into song — and what is that song about?

Setting

Grab Your Red Pen

Pick a scene or passage you've written that you feel dissatisfied with. Take a short time — maybe 10 or 20 minutes — to read the passage as though it were someone else's work. Take …

Setting

Somewhere Familiar

Are you finding it difficult to get to know your fictional characters and/or differentiate them from yourself? Try this: Choose a character from your project and let her/him take a walk into a place you …

Setting

The Art of Description

A few well-chosen words can create a strong sense of place which adds a rich dimension to your story. It draws your reader right in, as if they were in the room with your characters. Choose …