Setting Enthusiasts Welcome by Jen Cervantes

Setting is perhaps my favorite subject. It’s also my absolute favorite part of writing which can be a blessing or a curse depending on how you look at it. I admit, I can spend pages developing setting and it’s usually the first thing I have to have in my mind when I begin a  new story. To me setting is another character in the book. A big, important character and NO I do not have favorites!

When I saw this topic, I went back through old manuscripts to find that I spend A LOT of time on setting as seen in the partial opening of a recent ms below:

The town of San Bosco sits on the edge of a river whose sparkling purple and green stones are so bright beneath the water they look like they’ve been dipped in melted crayon. On the other side of town is an arroyo whittled away by rain, wind, and time, so wide it looks as if the earth is yawning. Some people say they can even hear mysterious sighs coming from the steep gully once all the water is gone.

In town, there are narrow crooked alleys that often lead to dark places and dead ends. But the brightly painted houses practically smile at passersby and are stacked so close together you could lean out your window and touch your neighbor’s house without having to stretch. The cobblestone streets are uneven and make you feel a little off balance unless you’re from here and in that case you’d have strong ankles and walk with a lean.

Setting can be an important tool to
1. set the mood
2. develop characters
3. show time and place
4. foreshadow events

This list goes on which is why I am a self-professed setting enthusiast. It is so rich with possibility!


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