Tips for Creating an Immersive Setting
This week Clever and I will be talking about the challenges of creating a setting. It’s something we both struggle with, and thought what we have discovered thus far can help you guys! We hope you enjoy this post and find something useful to incorporate into your writing.
Let Your Interests Inspire You
Think of your interests or passions to see if you can come up with ways to incorporate them into your world. Are you interested in Greek mythology or fairy tales? Do you have a passion for old libraries or baking? Do some research on these topics. You never know what might inspire you. You can look up travel destinations that you want to visit or read about ancient civilizations to serve as inspiration for your setting.
Maybe these interests end up forming the basis for a major component of your world, or maybe they inspire unique details that make your setting come alive. Either way, you will have more fun researching and writing about things that you are passionate about.
Read and Reread
Reread books where you remember being transported into the story. I’m sure you could easily think of a few. As you are reading new books, reread points in the story where you find yourself immersed in the setting and try to figure out how the author created that moment. Try writing a short description of your setting the way you think that author would write it. See if you can incorporate what you learn into your story somehow.
Just Start Writing
You can plan out the elements and details of your world, but some things will change as you write. You will realize an idea you had doesn’t work well in practice as you try to tell your story. As you write the characters you will see how the society influences them and how they, in turn, influence the culture. Plot points will require you to consider new aspects of the society that you hadn’t thought of before.
I’ve had many great worldbuilding ideas come to me as I was writing. Parts of the society I hadn’t considered, like the meaning and significance of marriage, formed new ideas that helped round out my novel. I’ve also discovered answers to questions through my writing. Like why, in a society set in the future, there would be no technology as we know it. I knew there had to be an explanation for my world to be believable, but it wasn’t until I was writing a scene that the explanation came to me. So, don’t feel like you have to have it all figured out before you can start on your first draft!
One thing that helps me to create a setting is to visualize how I want the story or novel to feel as it’s read. What is the theme? Where do you want the story to go? These are vital questions to answer!
Closing my eyes and trying to place myself into my idea for a story helps me to flow with the imagery of the setting. Maybe it’s a freezing day, my boots are crunching the fresh fallen snow, and I can feel the snowflakes like tiny cold daggers. Then I can piece together more and more of where I want this story to take place, and how large I want the setting to expand.
Do your characters travel to other places? Another vital question, start planning what those settings could look like as well before you dive deep into writing! Visualizing the weather, the architecture, and especially the time period are essential for me as a writer. Look beyond the physical setting. Think about the time period, social structure, and season. How would these elements add to the conflict?
As Clever stated you don’t necessarily have to have the entire setting planned out before you write, sometimes it comes to you as your story develops! I feel that creating a list of main points about your setting helps to get the story flowing, as well as develop the setting. For example, make a list of types of weather you anticipate your characters encountering, or the types of terrain they will experience and how that may impact their journey. Small lists like this can exponentially increase the amount of ideas I get for my stories!
Another useful tool is to place yourself in your characters shoes! Consider how a character’s point-of-view would affect the description of the setting, as you share details with the reader. Are they in awe of the glorious palace, or does the opulence disgust them? Are they terrified of the dark city alleyways, or do they feel at home among the neon lights? Then you can dive deeper into why the character feels that way, and what makes them who they are. Which I find extremely helpful to developing meaningful stories and settings!
We hope some of these ideas will help you with your writing endeavors! But remember, every writer is different, and trying out different ideas and concepts can help you pinpoint the ones that work for you! Let us know which tips you try, and how it went!
If you found this post helpful, we would love for you to leave a comment, or even buy us a cup of coffee! We promise to share!
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Thanks so much for reading!
-Clever & WTF