Monday, July 6, 2009

Remove your Setting from the Background

Ronie Kendig recommends that your setting should be more than where your characters interact, but instead should have a psychological impact on them (whether good or bad):
Setting should be as much alive as your character. Don’t let it grow stale or cliché. Does your character have a flat-screen TV? Why? Is it your heroine who uses the massive, ceiling-to-floor screen to study the surveillance footage of a crime scene? Or is your hero an America’s Army game junkie who’s hooked it up for life-sized gaming? Does the floor-model TV remind your hero of long nights spent watching Mr. Ed with his grandfather? What about the curio cabinet full of snow globes? Why are they there?
Where are your characters placed? What is around them? How does all of this affect how they feel, what memories are evoked, and what actions they take? I now understand that in the bizarre reality I'm creating in my novel, I need my characters to be thrown off, on guard, or simply curious more often than I do. What about you? How could your characters interact with your setting? How can a richer setting compel your characters and plot more effectively?

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