Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wednesday Writing - Setting in the Story

(Formerly a FFQ Article)

Setting is an often overlooked aspect of storytelling. And contrary to popular belief, setting isn't just the land that the character is standing on, the mountain view from the end of a prairie journey, or the tumultuous waves capping on a pirate ship. Setting is the foundation of every story. It sets up the history of a place, the identity of a people, and the possibilities that may come to life.
In Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, he created the world to contain different people with different histories. The setting of the land includes customs, language, politics, and local trades. The Lord of the Rings had multiple races with multiple myths and legends that built the world as much as the current events did. The Elves had a history that led up to the events in the book, so did every other race in Middle Earth. The place in which a person lives is dependent on the history in which it exists. An author should remember that when they pick a certain setting for a story.
If an author picks a civilization that lives by and off of the sea, they should be picking all parts of those peoples’ lives that would result from a life by the sea. This would include a specific speech pattern, work traits and habits that result from a life as a fisherman or other trades that support that life. These are the types of things that need to be taken into consideration when picking setting. Setting builds the foundation for the story. If the setting fails in its purpose then the whole story will fracture and crumble. Keep setting at the forefront when building your story.