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

Write it down,