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Creating an Effective Setting

What goes into the setting of a story and how can we create it? What is the "atmosphere" of the story?

Richard Koh

on 30 March 2014

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Transcript of Creating an Effective Setting

What is in a setting?
How can we create a setting to enhance our stories?

Creating an Effective Setting
2. Multi-sensory description
What goes into a setting?
Location | Time | Weather
Use cliches
1. Enable the plot
Describe a place you know well.
Enhancement 1
Describe that place again, this time focusing on creating one of the following atmospheres:
Enhancement 2
Invent a suggestive detail in your description to make your readers wonder
There was once, in the country of Alifbay, a sad city, the saddest of cities, a city so ruinously sad that it had forgotten its name. It stood by a mournful sea full of glumfish, which were so miserable to eat that they made people belch with melancholy even though the skies were blue.

In the north of the sad city stood mighty factories in which (so I am told) sadness was actually manufactured, packaged and sent all over the world, which never seemed to get enough of it. Black smoke poured out of the chimneys of the sadness factories and hung over the city like bad news.
Haroun and the Sea of Stories

Using Description of Setting as a Story Starter
1. Physical description
3. Atmosphere
Taste | Smell | Touch | Sight | Feel
A golden stretch of beach
Rosy apple
Use bombastic words to describe
Excessive verbiage obfuscate rather than illuminate.
Confounding confluence of words confuses, and does not communicate.
Create movement
Place objects in difficult to access locations
Introduce crucial items that will be used later
knife, broken sword
2. Develop the character
Help audience draw conclusions
A professor who keeps stacks and stacks of notes around his table
Avoid stereotypes
Beggars living in run down homes
e.g. bedroom, office, church, nearby playground
Use strong precise nouns and verbs
Avoid cliches and too many adjectives/adverbs
Appeal to at least 3 senses
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