Saturday, October 15, 2011

It all has to happen somewhere

Yup, today I'm looking at setting. You may find it strange to look at setting this early, right after structure. But let me explain my reasons.

Setting is key to so many elements of a good story. For a start setting decides what can and can't happen. A plot about escaping a shipwreak only makes sense on a large body of water. An evil wizard taking over the world only works if magic exists. And try writing a romance without a predefined concept of gender.

Setting is also key to characters. Characters are born, grow up, live, love and die, all within the setting. A story in modern New York will have very different characters from one set in the ancient Mesapatonion jungle. You guessed it, time is just as important as place.

Some settings require more work then others. A completely fictional setting requires lots of work to make and keep it consistient. For example you can't have a literate population without both a paper and printing press equivilent. Okay, so thats one of my pet peeves that nobody else seems to notice, but you get the point. A familiar place will provide you with ready made details, but it will also constrain you. Everyone knows there is no alley way between first and fifth street.

My story will happen in a fictional modern earth city, it may look suspiciously similar to New Zealand. I want all the benefits of writing on earth, but none of the constraints of a real location. I'm somewhat nervous about this, my comfort zone is completely fictional locations. Current period. I might throw a chemical factory in the mix too.

Incidentally I will be trying out writing using the new beta of Scrivener for Windows. Set the structure up this morning.

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