Setting the Scene as its own Character
I’ve been drawn to stories all my life, but it wasn’t until I became an author that I truly learned one of the main aspects of why I heavily favored some over others - in both books, TV and film.
A strong setting means the setting itself is indeed its own character.
In ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS, Karana is left behind on an island. While the thought of one island throughout one novel may seem repetitive, Scott O’Dell is a master of developing that island - every corner, rock, wave crash, beach, wildlife and her home. It becomes a character in and of itself that the reader keeps wanting to return to.
THE SCORPIO RACES also takes place on an island. It is so rich with detail, characters, town and water horses that Maggie Stiefvater has built that island into its entirely own character. The reader can smell the sea salt waves and wet sand, the iced November Cakes and horses.
Television shows I’ve loved over the years also place setting as a character: GILMORE GIRLS is in Stars Hollow, a quirky small town of connected characters that play off of each other in humor and heart. It’s a town you want to visit, to live in - the hardware store turned diner owned by longtime resident Luke, the playful home of Loerlai and Rory filled with books and music and junk food.
It’s all the details of the settings that build out the story and make it full and flourish.
In my writing, I aim for the same. I am drawn to desolate or remote places, places one can find themselves despite rough conditions, the ways in which we find belonging and certainly - home.
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