Where Teens Write is closing its doors as a teen writing community, but the “how to write” blog posts will be up for another few weeks.
 
I’m happy to announce that you can post your stories and get feedback over at Teen Author’s Journal. Like WTW, it’s a smaller community where you can build relationships with others and hone your writing skills.
 
It’s been a great few years with all of you, but it’s time to close the doors to this community. If you did post stories here that you didn’t save anywhere else, and you’d like them, you may contact me using the contact page, and I’ll get you your story. Thank you for participating.
 
All the best,
Amy
 

How to Avoid Talking Heads and Create an Awesome Setting

setting in a story

(pic from Death to Stock)

The setting of a story is one of those fiction elements that we imagine vividly in our heads but sometimes it’s hard to remember to put it down on paper.

In my writing group, when I read a piece that has great dialogue and solid action, I’m always the one who asks, “Now, where are they?” My writing group has published authors in it, so forgetting about setting isn’t a “beginning writer” problem. It’s something that all writers struggle with.

When a writer has a great scene but has forgotten to ground the characters in a place, or if they have only a brief mention of the place, I imagine these floating, talking heads. Getting drawn into a vivid world is one of my favorites part of reading, and creating that place is one of my favorite parts of writing.

In my own students’ writing and also here on WTW, I’ve been reading “talking head” pieces or at least pieces that are solid but could be that much better with more attention given to the setting, so I thought this week, I’d do a Setting Post Round-up of all the posts I’ve written on setting.

There are three writing prompts and exercises all focused on setting to help you get started.

Then, there are six posts that describe, in much more detail, how to use setting effectively. Check them out and if you’re so inclined, try some of the exercises in those posts and apply them to your pieces. If you need help getting started on developing your setting, post your basic setting in the forums, and we can help you brainstorm some details.

Setting Writing Prompts & Exercises

Creating a Setting – three exercises to help you add details and mood to your setting

Writing Prompt to describe the same setting in two different ways – fun strategy to practice with details.

Setting Quickwrite – this one focuses on a kitchen but you could also do this with one of the settings in your current piece, in fact, I encourage you to try that and see what you come up with.

How to Create a Kick-butt Setting

This post is a great intro to some strategies you can use to begin developing your setting.

Setting Basics #1 – Is your story taking place in a real or fictional place or both? How do you choose?

Setting Basics #2 – Time – WHEN does your story take place? Time of day, year, season etc. are all important to your setting. Have you added that information to your current story or scene? This post has a prompt at the end to help you add those details.

Setting Basics #3 – Details – It’s the details that make a setting come alive. Have you added the sensory details necessary to really allow your reader to be able to imagine that setting fully?

Setting Basics #4 – Pacing – Using description and details effectively not only creates a full experience for your reader but you can also use it to pace your story – slow it down or speed it up.

Setting Basics #5 – Character Development & Setting – Have you ever thought about using your setting to develop your characters? You can! This post has a great exercise/strategy for figuring out how to do just that.

Setting Basics #6 – Character’s Emotion & Setting – This post is an extension of #5. Again, it’s fun to play with settings and how they can reflect how your characters are feeling.

What are your thoughts on setting? Did any of these exercises help you to think about setting differently? Do you like to develop your settings or is the place more of an afterthought? What do you think? Share in the comments below. I’d love to hear what you think.

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