Did You Know that Your Characters are Important in Determining Setting?

At the last Writers’ Group meeting, the author who writes under the names of “Shelly Bates” and “Shelley Adina” taught: People interact with their settings.  Therefore knowing your characters helps to determine their “world”/setting.   You should ask yourself: “What do I need to support my character’s growth?”  The culture of your location impacts sports, social life, what defines “in” and “out”.   You need to know about your character’s home because home reveals something about him/her as well as a lack in him/her and his/her society.  Otherwise, there’s no reason to leave. You need to determine your “Adventure World”:  Where does the story happen?   Setting can reflect internal qualities of the character.  Setting can reflect change in the character.  Setting can foreshadow change. Setting can create the challenge to change the character. Setting and interactions with it are filtered through the lenses of the character’s senses and knowledge. Your character influences your readers’ perception.  Details are filtered through the character’s senses and experiences.  This gives your readers the same sensations and experiences.  Add details as the character notices them. “The fantastic becomes normal when your character takes it for granted.” Use setting to highlight conflict, secondary characters, dialog.  Setting is one way to establish mood.  You can use weather, objects, light or shadows or darkness, and space. One great idea she mentioned, especially if you want to use a real place or simply model a made up place after a real place, it can be very helpful to have a photo of the place to refer to as you write.

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