Pondering the following questions helps me make intentional decisions about a story’s setting. Maybe they’ll help you, too.
- What beliefs, traditions, and cultural influences are part of my character’s world?
- How have my characters’ personalities, belief systems, and behaviors been shaped by the time and place in which they live?
- How might the environment affect the protagonist’s emotional state? Her self perception?
- How does the world directly impact my protagonist’s story?
- How does each story character view the world? What are their unique perspectives?
- With what does my protagonist choose to interact? How and why? What does she avoid? How and why?
- What specific items have significance to the character? Why?
- What items in her world might be used as a motif to convey the story’s overall theme?
- Where does my character find refuge? Where does my character feel the most vulnerable?
- What about her world does my character want to change? How does that relate to her own transformation?
By the way, the worn silver dollar in WOODFORD BRAVE has personal significance for me, too. My father carried the pictured silver dollar in his pocket every single day. Funny how our ‘own settings’ find their way into stories!