Saturday, May 3, 2008

Six Tips to Create Fictional Settings from Real Places

The devil is in the details. This expression must have been originated with writers in mind. Writers paint pictures with words and if you were to write "John went to the park on a sunny day" your readers might get bored.

But if you were to write "John heard the rustle of golden autumn leaves swirling around his feet as he strolled up the grassy pathway." You would create an aesthetic picture in the reader's mind. .

1. Walking through a real setting like a park or city would be ideal but if it is not possible, draw a picture of it and try to see it from your character’s perspective.

2. Choose details that are relevant to your POV and action of the plot.

3. Use all your senses to describe your setting. If you have been able to walk through a real setting, visit it at different times of the day and note where shadows fall in the afternoon or how well lit it is in the morning hours. Record your observations in your notebook.

4. Think how the scenery of the setting evolves over time.

5. Read about the history of your setting. Especially if you are writing historical fiction.

6. Don’t allow your setting to dominate the landscape of your novel. Study how other writers describe places on the page and make sure your level of details matches theirs.

These six tips were inspired by Children's Book Insider. If you would like to subscribe go to

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  1. Hey, Carma,

    Wow! Super tips! Your site is quickly becoming a wonderful resource for children's writers.

    Don't you just love Children's Book Insider? It's another great resource.

    Happy writing!

    Suzanne Lieurance
    The Working Writer's Coach
    "When Your Pen Won't Budge, Read The Morning Nudge"

  2. Thanks Suzanne,
    I do love the C.B.I. newsletter. I can always depend on it to have something important to read and pass along to others.

  3. Great information again. I have so much to learn from pro's like yourself. Keep up the great info.
    Blessings, Terri

  4. Cool cool cool.

    Anything that helps me write better. I hear the ticking of the clock overlaying the hum of the fridge accentuated by the clicking of my laptop keys as I try to find the words... grin.

    Gayle McCain

  5. Wow Terri, thanks for the compliment. Pro, Soon I hope.

  6. Hi Gayle, you got the write idea.

    thanks for reading my blog.