Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Importance of Setting

Every story would be another story, and unrecognizable if it took up its characters and plot and happened somewhere else... Fiction depends for its life on place. Place is the crossroads of circumstance, the proving ground of, What happened? Who's here? Who's coming?--Eudora Welty
I found this great quote on the Annenberg Media blog about literature. I liked it so much, I wanted you all to read it.

I've been thinking a lot about setting lately. In fact, over the summer, I wrote a script for a vlog (video blog), but unfortunately (or fortunately, I guess) I've misplaced those notes.

The thing is, setting, world building, whatever you call it--is as important as your characters, your dialogue. As Ms. Welty says above, your story wouldn't be your story if it happened somewhere else. Or rather, it would be a different story.

So, really, you need to spend as much time on your setting as you do any other part of your book.

As some of you may know, my book takes place primarily on a golf course. I group up on a golf course, but it's been a long (long) time, so I went and sat at a driving range, watching golfers. Played a round of golf. Sat on a bench and drank in the wind, the clouds, the sounds, the shape of the building. I pulled out old score cards, and looked at old pictures.

One of the best compliment I've ever received? When I brought my friend Ansha to the old golf course my parents managed when I was a kid. She said, "Wow, this is exactly how I pictured it." She'd never seen a picture. Just read my book.

Setting matters. In contemporary fiction as well as fantasy. In some ways more. 


Heather said...

Setting is huge for me, both as a reader and a writer. There's little I love more than a richly described setting. Beautiful quote by the way!

Barbara Kloss said...

I love that quote! Thanks for sharing it.

Kristine Asselin said...

Thanks Barbara and Heather! I loved the quote when I read it, and knew I wanted to pass it along. :)