Crafting Powerful Settings
Masterful Technique for Fiction Writers
Setting is place. It’s environment. The objects and living things around us. It’s our immediate surroundings but also the larger space we move and breathe in.
Too often, writers ignore setting. But think about this—we live in the physical world. We respond to and interact with every single setting we are in, consciously or unconsciously. We inhabit space every second of our lives, even when we are in the womb. We cannot be extricated from setting, and neither can the characters we write about.
In storytelling, our number one job as writers is to make readers care. We want to ensure that our fiction captivates them on many levels and that our characters seem like living, breathing people who continue to exist in readers’ minds long after they read “the end.”
Setting is perhaps the most versatile tool in a writer’s toolbox. You’ll learn in this course the many uses of setting. The “right” setting, carefully chosen, can help reveal depth of characters, drop in backstory in a meaningful way, hint at inner and outer conflict, supply tension, and make your readers feel deep emotions.
There’s more to crafting powerful settings than just plucking out a few details and slapping them together; it’s about selecting ones that create a sensory experience, since description that offers real texture often triggers emotions and memories for readers, making them live the story emotionally through the characters.
Everything your character experiences has to matter, and that includes her interaction with her world. What you include and how you include it should be strategically planned. And that will help you determine what to exclude.
What you’ll learn in this course is the power of words. Nouns, adjectives, verbs that are packed with power. The power to evoke imagery and emotion. The power to set a mood and reveal mind-set. The power to mirror characters’ needs and hopes and fears. You are going to learn technique to help you harness the power of setting so that your readers will be fully immersed in a story that will linger long after they read the last pages.
If your setting in your fiction is weak, lacking, or unimportant to your characters, your readers won't get engaged in your story.
Masterful writers craft powerful settings that transport their readers into the world of their story. You can too.
Here are some of the vital things you'll learn in this course:
- The secret to crafting powerful settings. Yes, there is a secret but it's in plain sight!
- How to strategically choose every single setting in your story for the greatest impact
- Why you need high EQ (emotional quotient) in every setting you use
- What connected settings are and why they are the heart of your story
- How much detail (and what kind) to include when considering your settings
- When to "show" and when to "tell" with settings
- Tips to masterful wordsmithing that create powerful mood
- How to have setting mirror and inform your character's frame of mind
- How to choose just the right sensory details for each setting
- What the pitfalls are in creating powerful settings and how to avoid them
- Ways to integrate backstory into setting for powerful effect
Don't underestimate the power of setting! Get the tools you need to craft settings that your readers will love and that will linger in their minds long after they finish your story.
PreviewIntroduction: Why You Should Care about Setting (6:55)
StartModule 1: The Secret to Crafting Powerful Settings (24:23)
StartModule 2: Details, Details (40:25)
StartModule 3: How to Strategically Choose Settings (19:12)
StartModule 4: How Settings Shape Us and Our Characters (19:05)
StartModule 5: Aim for High EQ (24:58)
StartModule 6: Engage the Senses - Part 1 (27:41)
StartModule 7: Engage the Senses - Part 2 (24:21)
StartModule 8: Setting Uses (26:06)
StartModule 9: Create Mood for Greatest Impact (42:12)
StartModule 10: Common Setting Pitfalls (16:10)
StartModule 11: Crafting Powerful Settings (11:26)
C. S. Lakin is the award-winning author of thirty books and blogger at Live Write Thrive, a top-ten site for writers. She works as a book copyeditor and writing coach, specializing in manuscript critiques. Her writing craft book series The Writer's Toolbox teaches aspiring and experienced novelists how to write terrific stories. More than 5,000 writers have taken her online video courses over the last 10 years. She loves nothing more than to help writers craft stellar novels and experience success and joy in their writing journey.