20 August 2012


Following on from Part 2 of this series about Plot, I thought today we would look at settings.

Your settings are one of the most important elements in creating the world your characters inhabit because they show your reader not only the time and place of where your characters are, but using the five senses, and the weather, you will bring those settings to life.

There are four parts to settings, and each determines what type of settings you will have.

The time period.
When is your story set?  The distant past, present day, the future or a mixture.  I’ve just finished reading a book by Posie Graeme-Evans called The Island House.  It's set on an ancient island in Scotland in both modern day and 800AD.

What is the time span of your story?
A few weeks, a year, a century or just a day.

Where is your story set?
My Fitzjohn mystery series is set in Sydney, Australia, but there are many other locations within this.  For example, Fitzjohn’s office, his home, the greenhouse at the end of his garden, not to mention crime scenes and perhaps the morgue.

What are the struggles that your protagonist faces?
These struggles will have bearing on your settings too depending on whether your story is about your protagonist’s inner struggles, relationships with those closer to the protagonist, or external struggles to do with society.

Each of these have an impact on your settings.
Inner struggles will produce scenes to do with the protagonist’s thoughts and feelings.
Struggles with those close to the protagonist will produce dialogue.
External struggles with the outside world will necessitate the need for settings outside the protagonist’s environment.

Give thought to your settings before you paint them with your words!


  1. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation
    but I find this topic to be really something that I
    think I would never understand. It seems too complex and extremely broad for me.
    I'm looking forward for your next post, I'll try to get the
    hang of it!
    my webpage - click here

  2. I agree, it is a broad subject and impossible to cover in a post. There is a book called, 'Settings' by Jack M. Bickham that I find useful because it covers so many aspects of settings. This is the Amazon link

    Thanks for commenting, Annonymous.

  3. Great advice for writers as always Jill. You obviously follow it because you write such interesting books that prove you take great care in developing visuals with words for your readers to enjoy.

  4. Thanks, Anna, for your kind words. It's lovely to hear from you.