How Will Your Setting Affect Your Fight Scene

One thing in fight scenes that I often find is overlooked (or at least not as utilized as it could be) is the setting. Setting is crucial to a fight scene since where your characters are greatly affects what they can do and how they will fight. This is particularly applicable to fantasy, but if you have two characters get into a sword fight in the middle of a large, flat, empty section of land with no one and nothing in it, they can pretty much to whatever they want. They can draw their sword and swing it wildly.

But there aren’t really places like that. Parking lots have cars. Runways have airplanes. Even Nebraska has dips and rises and barbed wire fences and cows that would need to be taken into account. Chances are, if you’re writing a fight scene, there’s going to be something in your setting that needs to be taken into account.

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Take a crowded bar. If you have a character challenge another to a sword fight in a tavern, they might not even have enough space to draw their sword. Swords are long and take quite a bit of space to draw. Crowded taverns are often short on space. They are filled with tables, chairs, dishes, food, and other people that might end up as collateral damage. If you need to have a fight take place in a setting like this, you might have to modify things so that it’s physically possible to fight. Maybe they take the fight out into the street. Maybe the ceilings are high and they fight on the tables. Or maybe your characters don’t care about collateral damage and are willing to kill and destroy to get what they want. But you as a writer need to be aware of the situation and know how the setting will affect the way they fight.

The way people fight changes based on their setting. I used to co-teach a martial arts class full of teenage boys. They’d trained together for years and were all higher rank or black belts. Since they were more advanced (and less likely to hurt themselves) we would sometimes let them try out new things. Fighting with different weapons. Simulating different settings. That sort of thing.

One day, we pulled out the ground mats to simulate fighting on top of a building. The rules were that the first person to step off the mat lost (ie, fell off the building). Suddenly these boys, who had spent years kicking and punching together, completely changed their fighting styles. Kicking put them off balance in a situation where balance was vital. Instead, they were grabbing each other by the shoulders and trying to throw their opponent off balance and off of the “building.” A different fighting style for a different situation.

There are even variations in martial arts styles based on the setting they were developed in. For example, there are some subsets of Pencak Silat that were developed in slippery rice fields. Practitioners of those styles use low stances and are often quick to go to the ground in a fight. Their style of martial arts developed in response to the specific challenges of their setting.

If you have an action sequence in your story, how will your setting affect that? How can you use the unique details of your setting to add authenticity to your fight scene?

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20180131_162833 (4)Jenilyn Collings loves to read and is always looking for books that will make her laugh. She has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She enjoys watching Korean dramas, BBC period pieces, and thinks Avatar: the Last Airbender is the best show ever made.

Writer Beware: Speed Bumps Ahead

There are moments when a writer feels blocked. No words come. The story stalls. You’re staring at a brick wall. Every writer needs their own bag of tricks for overcoming Writer’s Block. (One of the best: a deadline.)

Speed Bumps

You might not have heard of another writer condition, one similar to Writer’s Block, but it differs in a significant way. I call it Writer’s Speed Bump, and knowing how to treat it is critical. Continue reading

A Character’s Time to Die

“We aim for the point where everyone who is marked for death, dies.”
– Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

My wife and I have been working our way through a TV series recently, and one of our favorite characters just died. (I won’t mention the name of the show or character, so as not to spoil it for those who have not seen it). This character’s death did not come as a complete surprise to us. The storm clouds had been gathering around him for a while, as it were, and there had been hints that he wasn’t going to make it out alive. From a narrative standpoint, his personal story arc was pretty much over, with nowhere left to go. It really was his time to die.

Nevertheless, his death still was still difficult to witness, and not just because it was a rather violent and shocking death. We mourned the loss of this character because we had been following his story since the first episode. We had watched him struggle and grow as a character, and we felt like we knew him-in many ways, even better than other characters on the show did. We liked him, and we miss him. His absence in the story after his death is as significant as was his presence beforehand.

I know that you know exactly what I’m talking about here. Even now, you’re thinking of the death of one of your favorite fictional characters, aren’t you? I’ll bet you can still recall in vivid detail where you were when that character died. It’s fascinating to me how we can feel genuine grief over the loss of someone we intellectually know was never alive in the first place. But they felt real to us, didn’t they? Such reactions are evidence of good writing, and the sort of connections that all storytellers hope to create with their audience.

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Death is one of the most powerful tools writers can use to impact their readers. The death of a character can elicit a range of emotions, ranging from anger, fear, and sadness, to catharsis, joy, and even humor. (Admit it: you laughed when the Boba Fett fell into the Sarlaac and it burped).

As I have reflected on the death of this particular character, I’ve come up with five lessons about using death as a tool to strengthen your storytelling.

1. His death was earned.

You remember on Star Trek, when Captain Kirk and his crew would beam down to an alien planet. Everyone knew that Kirk wasn’t going to die, and neither were Spock, Dr. McCoy, Sulu, or any of the main characters. But those unnamed security guards in the red shirts? Yeah, we all knew they would be the first to go. And what’s more, we didn’t really care. Their only purpose in the story was to be cannon fodder or monster chow.

This character wasn’t a red shirt. He had earned his death-or rather, the powerful emotions that came from it-because we had known him from the beginning of the story. We had invested time in learning his story, and thus his death had meaning to us.

2. His death had meaning to other characters.

It wasn’t just us as viewers who were upset when this character died. Part of the emotion of the moment came from seeing how the other characters in the story reacted. We mourned his death partly because we saw his friends mourning, and we knew what he meant to them.

Death will always bring with it a certain shock value, especially if the reader doesn’t see it coming. Much of the horror genre depends on the tried and true “jump scare” type death, or the “who’s gonna get it next?” approach. But gratuitous deaths, or deaths for their own sake, will never carry the same weight or meaning that the death of a solidly developed character will.

3. His death moved the story forward.

This character’s death came at a critical point in the story, and his death served as a primary motivation for the other characters going forward throughout the rest of the story. Virtually everything that happened thereafter in the plot was directly or indirectly related to his death.

Death is a powerful motivator, and is often what sets the hero off on his or her journey. It’s the death of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru that motivates Luke Skywalker to leave home and go with Obi-Wan Kenobi. It’s the death of Mufasa that causes Simba to run away from Pride Rock. In fact, Disney has built an entire empire on the corpses of dead parents, few of whom ever even make it out of the prologue.

But while a death near the beginning of a story can be a natural reason for your character to start their journey, it’s by no means the only place where it can happen. Lenny isn’t killed in Of Mice and Men until the very end of the book, for instance, because in that case, the whole story has been leading up to that moment in one long crescendo. The same holds true for Old Yeller, and Where The Red Fern Grows, where the story is about the loss of one’s pets.

4. His death reflected his life.

He got to go out in a blaze of glory of sorts, voluntarily sacrificing his life to save three of his friends, including his best friend. This was in keeping with how this character was during his life, constantly looking out for and protecting his friends. His death therefore felt natural, and even right.

The manner of death should also fit the tone of the story. It’s best not to include a gruesome or graphic death in a story that has been fairly tame thus far. William Wallace’s death in Braveheart-where he is hung, drawn, and quartered-is gruesome, epic, tragic, and inspiring all at once, and is perfectly in harmony with the tone of the rest of the story. Such a death would feel out of place in

Even a death that feels random and even senseless can be impactful if that is the story you’re telling. In The Walking Dead, pretty much anyone can die at any time, without warning or fanfare. That’s the reality of living in a zombie apocalypse-death is always right around the corner, and that sense of fear is what the story is all about.

5. His death was remembered.

In the next episode, the other characters hold a wake, and they each put remembrances in his coffin. Each character is given a chance to say their goodbyes and pay their respects. It’s somber and formal, and very cathartic for everyone involved, including the viewer. It’s our chance to say goodbye as well.

When people die in the real world, we eulogize them. We remember their life and honor their death. Character deaths need a similar eulogy. When a fellow hunter dies in Supernatural, Sam and Dean Winchester give them a “hunter’s funeral,” full of meaning. When Gandalf drops off the bridge of Kazahdum with the Balrog, there isn’t time to stop and fully remember him until the Fellowship arrives safely at Lothlorien, where Sam composes a poem about Gandalf’s fireworks while the elves sing a lament.

This doesn’t mean that there has to be a formal funeral service for every character death, but there should be at least a moment sometime where other characters can reflect and remember their loss. The Wolverines in Red Dawn take time to carve the names of their fallen friends on a rock before moving on with their war. Wilbur the pig is saddened by Charlotte’s death, but is happy seeing all her children living on.

Death is a part of life, and will always be so. It’s quite natural to incorporate death into our storytelling, and we should. Because part of the reason we tell stories in the first place is to keep memories of those we love alive for future generations. In this way, stories have the power to transcend death itself.

10 Suggestions for Writing Transitions

I have a transition in my current work-in-progress that has been giving me headaches for a while now. It shouldn’t be so difficult—I’m just moving the main character from one scene location to another—but every time I try to revise it, I still get that niggling “this isn’t working” feeling.

And, okay, I’ve had readers point it out, too, so I know it’s not just me. But what to do about it?

Recently, I’ve been reading Make Your Words Work by Gary Provost. It’s an older craft book (the original copyright was in 1990), but it’s proving to be one of the most helpful I’ve read when it comes to crafting on a sentence level. Plus, the prose is engaging and very readable, which is surprisingly rare in writing craft books.

Lucky for me, Provost has an entire section about transitions in his chapter on pacing.

Provost gives three different types of transitions:

  1. Transitions of Time
  2. Transitions of Place
  3. Transitions of Subject

Regardless of what type of transitions you’re dealing with, all good transitions will “make a connection between what the reader has just read and what he is about to read, by implying the relationship between those two bodies of information” (Provost 89).

In other words, a transition can’t be abrupt and confuse the reader. Readers hate being confused.

Provost also gives ten suggestions for transitions:

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1. Don’t Use Long Transitions

Sometimes if days, weeks, months or even millennia pass, writers feel like they need to fill in that gap and explain what happened during that time. If nothing happened during that time that’s directly related to your story, readers don’t need it. If your character is just going about life as usual and nothing happens at his office job that will affect the plot, readers don’t need it. Keep transitions short.

Remember: “A story is not everything that happened. It’s every important thing that happened” (Provost 91).

2. Don’t Write a Scene When a Transition Will Do

This goes along with the previous suggestion. Sometimes we are so worried about telling everything that happened, that we will write entire scenes that are unnecessary. I know I’ve done this before. If nothing really happens in a scene and nothing changes in the story, consider cutting the scene and using a simple transition instead. Often, that will help with pacing issues.

3. Don’t Explain When You Don’t Have To

If your character is doing something that your reader already understands, like driving a car, for example, you don’t need to explain your character going through the motions of it. Simply acknowledging that they drove from one place to another is all that readers need.

4. Don’t Acknowledge When You Should Explain

However, if your character is doing something uncommon, something that the readers wouldn’t necessarily know how to do, like escaping from a dire situation, you can’t simply say that they escaped. Readers will feel cheated.

5. Do Not Use Transitions to Conceal Information

If something big happened during a transition, like a woman going into labor as she drove across town, you can’t simply say that she drove across town and then surprise readers when the baby shows up. Readers assume that you’re telling them all they need to know and the woman driving across town was not all they needed to know about that trip.

6. Don’t Write Transitions That Distract the Reader

According to Provost, “In general, your writing improves as your words become more specific. If you can make your character trot, dash, or lope, the writing will be more effective than if she simply “runs.”…However, in writing transitions your goal is somewhat different. You don’t want to attract attention.” He goes on to use the example of having a woman cross the street. “If…you write “Diana dashed across the street to Penelope’s” you will distract your reader with the vivid picture of Diana dashing and you will also occupy him with the question, “Why is Diana dashing?”” (Provost 94).

Keeping it simple is much better when writing a transition.

7. Point to the Transition

If the transition will be coming later in the story, like the main character travels to Europe, the readers need to be warned ahead of time that this trip is coming or it will throw readers out of the story.

8. Use Key Words

This goes along with pointing to the transitions. Provost uses the example of a wrap-up party after filming a movie. By using the key word “wrap-up” when the actor is invited to a party that evening, readers are automatically oriented when the wrap-up party starts even if several other events have happened during the day before he actually reaches the party.

9. Use Bridge Words

We do this all the time in conversation with phrases like, “This reminds me of…” or “Speaking of…” These are the “similar words and phrases” that we use “to imply a connection” when we make a transition (Provost 97). Find some way to make a bridge between the time, place, or subject in your story.

10. Make Transitions Seem Logical

This usually isn’t a problem in fiction since “your scenes emerge from something that happened in a previous scene” (Provost 97), but it’s definitely something to think about, especially if you’re working on a non-fiction piece.

I don’t know if I’m the only one who struggles sometimes to find the right transition in a piece, but these suggestions have helped me think through the specific issues I’ve been having. Hopefully now I can come up with a better transition for my story.

Happy Writing!

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Jenilyn Collings loves to read and is always looking for books that will make her laugh. She is currently working on an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She enjoys watching Korean dramas, BBC period pieces, and thinks Avatar: the Last Airbender is the best show ever made.

How To Write As A Stay-At-Home Parent

SAHM writer

The year I felt profoundly moved to pursue publication for my novels was—you guessed it—the same year that I got pregnant (after years of infertility, too, which makes it doubly ironic). I jumped into the querying game when my daughter was barely a year old, and sold my first book not long after her third birthday. From the beginning, I’ve been building my professional career around my mothering… and when my daughter hit two and stopped napping, I panicked, knowing that I had to figure out a way to become more efficient and write in the small chunks of time I was able to snatch here or there, or else I would be kissing my writing dreams goodbye.

That year I spent a lot of time studying up on ways to boost my output and write in short bursts off and on throughout the day. By the end of the year, I’d completed my new book, almost never writing for longer than half an hour at a time. By the next summer, I’d sold that book, and now—two years later—I’ve successfully edited my debut novel, written another novel and a half, and dealt with the myriad of other tasks that come with being a pre-publication professional novelist.

Often, people ask me about the mysterious tips that helped me shift my work style to accommodate writing once my kid stopped napping, so I thought that I’d share them here!

  1. I switched from pantsing to plotting. Before 2015, I was a DIEHARD pantser, the kind who felt like plotting took the creative energy from a project and killed all originality. But when my daughter was a toddler, I realized that I was completely miserable with the way I was writing; it took me about a thousand words to feel like I was hitting my stride and really taking my story in the right direction, and since I almost never had time to sit down and write a thousand words in a row—let alone anything more than that!!!—it felt like all of my writing time was just arduous and unpleasant. In 2015, I took a class from Melanie Jacobson about increasing productivity, and she talked about how she’d adapted the Rachel Aaron plotting method for use as a busy mom. I blogged about how I outline now in a series of posts here and here. In particular, briefly blocking out scenes before I write them gives a really invaluable tool to help guide me right back into a scene if I’ve had to leave off writing in the middle of it, so that I can be truly productive even if all I manage to snatch are a few ten-minute increments throughout the day. This method also majorly boosted my wordcount, so that I can now knock out a thousand words in about half an hour (sometimes even less) if I’ve done enough prep work before.
  2. I learned how to work well even if the setting wasn’t what I’d prefer. I’m the kind of person whose brain peaks around mid-morning. I’m not a night owl, and by the end of the day, honestly, all I want to do is curl up with a good book or Netflix and let my brain take a break. But when my daughter was little, I read this wonderful series of blog posts on living a creative life with children, and it was transformative. One of the things that it said was that a crucial part of being able to be a creative person as a parent was to learn to work in sub-optimal times and places, even if that’s not naturally the way you’d prefer to work. I knew that was the wake-up call I needed, and I took it to heart. I started practicing writing at night a few times each week, after my daughter had gone to bed, making myself churn out at least five hundred words before I could stop and do something else. Over time, working in sub-optimal conditions became more and more natural. And, sure enough, my overall word output went much higher!
  3. Set a schedule… and make sure it has time for relaxing, too. Around the same time, my husband—who is a software engineer and loves creating programs and websites in addition to his day job—and I came up with the idea of a weekly schedule of “work nights” and “[TV] watch nights.” We realized that we’d started defaulting to watching TV together every night because we were too tired to work, and we wanted to change that. Ever since then, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday have been our designated “work nights,” and the rest of the nights are “watch nights.” We’re only allowed to skip work nights in cases of illness, injury, or holidays. (We also, of course, will often work other times; when one of us is trying to get something finished, we’ll either skip a watch night or work for an hour before loading up Netflix. These three nights, though, are the minimum we’re allowed to work each week.) Combined with the changes I made in step #1 and step #2, this schedule has been really effective for me. It’s honestly amazing what you can get done in a few dedicated one- to two-hour stretches throughout the week. These days, I’m usually able to carve out thirty or so minutes of writing time most mornings, as well, but for a long time these three nights a week were the only consistent time I had to work, and I still managed to get all of my debut novel written in the space of a few months.
  4. When all else fails—get a babysitter! This fall, I hit a patch of intense deadline-crunching for my debut, where I was working for hours every day and still not quite getting as much done as I needed to. I hired a local teen to come play with my daughter (sometimes while I was around, sometimes while I went to the library to work there) for a few hours on a couple different afternoons, and it was just what I needed to get that extra work in. Plus, going to the library felt like this HUGE luxury—so much quiet! Nobody asking me for anything! If you’ve tried everything else and just are not able to fit in enough work time, try a babysitter, a preschool, or a babysitting trade-off. You might be amazed by how much your productivity increases merely by not having any other responsibilities! (And if you’re in a pinch? I promise, a little bit of TV time won’t kill the kids!)

Balancing parenting and writing is tricky—and for a long time, I felt like it was impossible. I’m glad to have been proved wrong!

Cindy Baldwin is a fiction writer, essayist, and poet. She grew up in North Carolina and still misses theadshot1he sweet watermelons and warm accents on a daily basis. As a middle schooler, she kept a book under her bathroom sink to read over and over while fixing her hair or brushing her teeth, and she dreams of writing the kind of books readers can’t bear to be without. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and daughter, surrounded by tall trees and wild blackberries. Her debut novel, Where The Watermelons Grow, is forthcoming from HarperCollins Children’s Books in 2018. Find her online at http://www.cindybaldwinbooks.com and on Twitter @beingcindy.

 

Confessions of a Reformed Pantser

When I first started writing, I was working in romantic comedy. I didn’t really need to plot. We all know how those go: a “meet-cute” followed by a series of internal and external obstacles that keep the two characters apart, a kiss near the mid-point to show us why they should be together, more obstacles, and then sacrifices on each of the main characters’ parts that allow them to be together at the end, which is always happy.

But as I began to grow as a writer, I developed more subplots for my protagonists where they had to do some real internal growth, and sometimes the manuscripts grew unwieldy. 75,000 was the publisher’s sweet spot and when I had one reach 110,000, I knew I needed an intervention. I had to cut almost 25% of that manuscript, and with the exception of one scene I still miss, every scene I cut made it better. So how had I ended up with so much extra useless story? I didn’t have time to overtell stories when I was supposed to turn in two books a year.

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I looked around for solutions, and I realized I was going to have to plot. I had liked meandering through stories and figuring characters out. I could follow them around all day just observing them without them needing to do anything. Of course I knew readers needed more than that, but for me as a writer the fun was the discovery. However, also for me as a writer, the pain and time of editing out the excessive length had finally begun to outweigh the fun of discovery.

So I started with my first plot effort, which was using the Hero’s Journey. This only worked kind of well for a romance since the biggest obstacles are often internal, not external, and there aren’t generally “quests.” But it absolutely CAN work in romance: unfortunately for me it only got me to the halfway point in my next manuscript before I realized it wasn’t going to work anymore.

Then I switched to Dan Well’s Seven Point Structure. You can watch the whole series beginning with Part 1 here, and for many years that served me well. I would lay out the major plot points on notecards (real ones on first, then in Scrivener) and then, using Rachel Aaron’s method for boosting productivity, I would write a single sentence or phrase linking the smaller scenes between each major one. I would end up with 25-30 notecards/scenes, and each day I would do a short pre-write about what I was writing then dive into the writing. My productivity shot up, my manuscripts quit fighting me, and my stories got tighter.

But lately I’ve been working on a YA novel that doesn’t follow a straightforward romance plot, and I’ve found myself wandering out in the weeds again, lots of pages of “Nothing is really HAPPENING.” I couldn’t figure out what the story was realllllllllly about, or what my character really wanted. So I decided to try beat sheets, a concept I understood pretty well but had never actually used. Ten minutes later, I knew what my whole book was about. And that got me at least a third of the way through the new manuscript until I realized I didn’t always know what to expect my characters to do . . . and I should.

So after an exasperated call out on Facebook, several writer friends responding with suggestions that I took (it’s one of my finer qualities) and . . . they worked! First, I used KM Weiland’s blog posts on writing character arcs which tie character and plot development to each other intimately. Developing the character arc is what develops the plot, and sure enough, when I finished working through the series of questions she prompts you to answer about your character, I had begun to fill in some of the empty spaces between beats on the beat sheet, to understand that if the beat said, “This character and that character have a conflict about X,” I knew all the nuance and subtext of those conflicts and where each character was coming from before I even wrote the scene.

But just to make sure that each scene had a point and moved the action forward, I took one more step and tried the scene and sequel method as I drilled down into each beat. I suggest Googling this one because there are several good articles explaining it, including the one I used, but the guy was kinda condescending and annoying so I’d rather you found a more pleasant one on your own. Basically, while KM Weiland’s character arcs helped me figured out what each character wanted in a scene and made it easy to imagine how they would act/react, scene + sequel helped me give each scene enough tension.

The idea of scene + sequel is that each scene must have a Goal (what she wants), Conflict (something standing her way), and Disaster (she fails) followed by another scene that has a Reaction (what does she do), Dilemma (faced with no good choices), and Decision (chooses the least of the evils and presses forward). But it was much easier to figure out each of these when I understood my characters so well.

And again, with the magic of a five minute pre-write every day, the words come pouring out. I think these characters are fully fleshed out. I think they’re constantly doing interesting things. And I think that soon, in a novel or two, I’ll find that this combination of methods don’t work for yet another kind of story and I’ll go hunting for new strategies.

But that’s the key: no stagnation. Try a bunch of different approaches until you figure out which one opens up the story path, and know that unless every story you tell is the same (that’s bad), exploring different paths isn’t taking you off-course: it’s finding you the shortcuts to better, tighter stories.
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Melanie Bennett Jacobson is an avid reader, amateur cook, and shoe addict. She consumes astonishing amounts of chocolate, chick flicks, and novels. She lives in Southern California with her husband and three kids and a series of doomed houseplants. Her seventh novel, Southern Charmed, released in October. Melanie is pursuing a Masters degree in creative writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her contemporary YA novels are represented by Alyssa Henkin..

 

Sketching Your Setting

I’ve been working on a revision of a project and, as I was thinking over the events that took place, I realized that many of the scenes take place in very vague settings. The main character’s house, for example. I have a clear idea in my head of what some of the rooms and the furniture look like, but when it comes to the rooms all fitting together, I have a house no architect would ever design, not unless they were, um, very eccentric.

And eccentric was not the look I was going for in their classic, colonial revival style of house.

So I had to sit down and sketch out a believable design for the house, as well as a layout for the furniture in the rooms. I plan to do it for other scenes in the story. Why? Because setting is so crucial to what takes place in a story. It affects how your characters can move in a space and even what they can do in that space. For example, if you’re writing a mystery and you want your character to shoot someone, you have to make sure to place a gun somewhere in their setting so that they can use it. If you are writing a romance and there’s only one small sofa in the living room, they have no choice but to sit next to each other. However, if there are multiple couches, there are different choices to be made and the character’s actions will tell a lot about them by how they interact with one another within the space of the setting.

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Setting, especially a home, is a reflection of your characters. In this particular story, another character called the main character “a control freak.” But her house, and her space, was always messy. One reader pointed this out and asked if the main character really was a control freak. Not that it’s impossible to be both, but it’s important to look at how the two work together and whether or not your setting is contradicting the character you’re trying to establish. And if you are setting up a contradiction, make sure to do it deliberately.

Setting can also show readers who your character is by showing us what they notice in a setting. But how can you, as a writer, know what they will notice if you don’t actually know what’s in the setting? By drawing out your setting, you’ll better know what is in it, which will help you figure out what your character will notice and what they won’t.

Your sketch of your setting does not have to be pretty—it doesn’t even have to be something that you ever show to anyone else—but it can be a very useful tool for you to figure out the blocking within a scene. For me, even something as simple as realizing where my characters kept their garbage can outside helped me work through a snarl in my plot.

What tips to you have for creating a setting? Do you have a particular process you use for your writing?
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Jenilyn Collings loves to read and is always looking for books that will make her laugh. She is currently working on an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She enjoys watching Korean dramas, BBC period pieces, and thinks Avatar: the Last Airbender is the best show ever made.