Create meaningful settings in your story

Setting is the story’s time and the place in which the plot unfolds. Sometimes it’s referred to as the “scene.”

For example, in “Star Trek: The Original Series”, the setting typically is the 23rd century and various parts of the starship Enterprise, such as the bridge, sickbay, engineering and transporter room. The various locations that the landing party visits on the planet also is part of the setting.

Setting helps shape your story’s color and mood. The conflicts the characters face hinge on the setting and the situations it creates for the characters. On occasion, the setting itself must be transformed as the main character resolves his central problem.

When describing the setting, follow these rules:
• Give concrete details of the place – Appeal to as many senses as possible. All of us live in a world in which we constantly see, hear, smell, taste and touch. So also should your characters. We’ll discuss this more in the next step.
• Ask how your main character would perceive this place – Write your description of the setting from that viewpoint.
• Divide descriptions of the setting into three sections – For example, start with the foreground, then in the next couple of sentences go the middle and at paragraph’s end to the background. Or try left-center-right or sky-eye level-ground.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.