Setting Matters

The Writer’s Book of Wisdom by Steven Taylor Goldsberry

And now where are we? Does it matter? Always.

Setting is a romanticized and particular environment shaped by your insights and eye for detail. It’s a place as malleable as clay, and you can bend and twist it to support your story.

A thunderstorm, the sky shattered with lightening, trees bowing to heavy wind, the air ozone-thick and lavender, and beneath the dark chaos a shelter—a cave or palace—its floor pooling with water from the summer deluge, its walls orange with lamplight, hail hammering the roof. … This is setting.

Setting establishes mood. Leave nothing to the imagination. Writers who say they want to leave something to the imagination of their readers are lazy writers indeed.

Be specific, yet brief—only as detailed as the pace of the narrative allows.

Paint pictures with your words. Let the landscape on the page—rendered only in words—shine as beautifully, as remarkably, as true as the real world your readers are trying to escape.

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