This morning I walked outside to the crisp Pacific Northwest air, and crunching of leaves at my feet. With a scarf around my neck and a warm beverage in my hand, I smiled as I made my way to work. Thick in the air was the pungent smell of burning fireplaces and a looming fog. All indicators that not only had fall arrived but I was gonna need to get the baby a bigger coat.
That got me thinking. I could use what I came up with above as the start of a love story, a tragic story or whatever. I just have to be a little creative. And I have to find the right setting.
Setting, or as I like to call it, the mood. Picking out where you are going to set your story is sort of a big deal. I mean you can set your story on a fast-paced roller coaster that only takes place within a day and the passengers on the roller coaster have to figure out how to defuse a bomb or they will blow up, oh wait. That is the plot of Speed. Anyway, that would have made a good story.
With the right words, descriptions and characters you could make a hole in the wall into a great story!
But it has to fit your story. You can’t have a murder happen on the roller coaster. Unless you make accommodations. Such as the roller coaster being more something like Space mountain. Or the Matterhorn. Then if you do that you have to make sure to “make up” the city or use a “real” city that the roller coaster would be in. We all know there are no roller coasters in South Dakota, though there should be. If there was then more people would visit Mount Rushmore!
Going back to my descriptive paragraph above. The fall weather, you can’t have that in a lot of places either. For example, the leaves do not change in New Orleans. Nor does the weather, not until December.
So if you wanted to do a story that took place in New Orleans, and you should, you can’t use fall descriptions. Would that work for your story?
In Twilight, and I know I always use that as a reference. The only time Stephanie Meyer described the time of year was when she mentioned it raining or snowing. Since it rains all the time in Forks, you really don’t get a sense of what month they are in until the snow hits. Then you figure ok, November or December? Maybe January? Google should know!
Do not underestimate Professor Google. You should use that bad boy like the naughty thing he is! Join a chat room, perhaps you could meet someone from the area you are interested in. Or use Google+ and join a writer’s group. Your best friend Professor Google can hook you up with people who at this point can serve as your most powerful resource. Yes, you can look at weather patterns and blah blah. Or you can go to that city, town, country, or whatever’s website and look around for yearly activities, look at pictures, cause that is what we introverted writers do! Interaction is for the young folk!
It is good to do both. Don’t be shy and don’t be ashamed! Trust me I know how hard it is to approach people. But on the plus side, you are not meeting face to face!
Another great source would be Twitter! Just put a bunch of hashtags that relate to what you want. I suggest the following for writing advice: #writechat, #writingtip, #writetip, #amwriting, #amediting, #WIP (work in progress), #writing. I would also make sure to add the genre that you are looking to write. #romance, #YA, #mystery, etc.
I have given you a few ways I come up with my settings. How do you come up with yours? Do you use the place you live, just call it something else? Or do you make up your own little town?
Inquiring minds want to know!