Day 19 – “S” Setting
How important is setting? To me, it is one of the most important parts of the writing process. I have touched base on various elements of my writing process including character development and outlining, but the development and manifestation of places is easily one of my favorite steps. I am drawn to the concept of setting; to the idea that a house, a village, a room can have such a strong pull on a character and can serve as a critical component in the development of a story.
For example, both of the two novels I’m working are centered around a place of great importance to the characters. In my contemporary piece, it is the main character’s family cabin that she is renovating (a metaphor for her attempts to rebuild the toxic relationship she has with her mother). In my historic fiction piece, it is a large Creole-style cottage set in the bayous of Louisiana that has been a central point for the characters both in the past and present, the purpose of the residence having evolved over time.
These settings, these places, all have such a strong presence that they are almost characters themselves. I spend a great amount of time developing setting. Part of this development is research, part of it is extensive outlining and planning; mapping out floor plans, printing out photos of inspirational homes I’ve found, and describing the property, the rooms, and the décor in incredible detail.
How important is setting to you? Do you create a special place for your characters that is such an important part of the storyline that the setting is almost a character in and of itself, or do you focus more on other components (character development, dialogue, etc.)?