“The world only exists in your eyes – your conception of it. You can make it as big or as small as you want to.” This quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a very apt one. A remarkable setting ensures that people will remember about it, which in turn will add up to the overall worth of your book.
So you’ve decided that you want to write a book. Maybe it’s science fiction, fantasy or maybe just an inspiring tale. Writers tend to believe that the characters are the most important element in a book, which is true. But they downplay the value of the setting in which the story unfurls. After reading hundreds of books, I’ve found that it is the combination of both quirky characters and a unique and unforgettable setting that makes for a good read. So, from my experience, these are some of the things you have to keep in mind before starting to write your book.
- Figure out your characters first
This is really important. Always keep in mind that first priority should be given to your characters. When you’ve figured out what they look like, how they behave, etc, then you can decide where they live. If you decide on a setting before thinking about your characters, you’ll end up displeased with your work. But if your story involves a character roaming around in a world completely different from his own, then go ahead and write!
- Find out its peculiarities
Stories that are set in normal, ordinary places don’t ordinarily grab a reader’s attention. What you have to do is figure out the uniqueness and the quirks of the place that your characters are gonna play around in. If you plan to set your book out of this galaxy, then that too is fine. That way, you can play around with the landscapes and no one will ever be able to say that you’ve described something wrong!
- The farther the better
This is my motto while writing. At first, I thought I was the only one who liked mysterious, unexplored places (!) but soon I bonded with other people who were even more crazy about running after myths. This point is especially important for fantasy and adventure writers. Sure, you can make a crazy world right in the middle of New York City, but I’ve found that people prefer outworldly places more as they come with a pre-existing tang of thrill.
Bonus Read- Using Lost Cities As Plot Material
- Research, research, research…
Believe me, this is the hardest part of planning a setting. But you also get to have some fun. Basically, you have to tear the location into pieces (not literally)! That’s because when the time comes to describe a place, you don’t want yourself floundering around looking for words. After all, descriptions are essential to a story as they let the readers take a glimpse of the world through your eyes. So be careful with the images you create. You want a vivid, colourful vista; not a dry, stereotypical view of the place.
- Fall in love
This might seem a bit ridiculous, but you really have to fall in love with the setting you have chosen! Because when you are passionate about something, it reflects in your writing. Don’t believe me? Then try it yourself. And if you love it at first sight, then it’s practically guaranteed that your readers will love it too! So what are you waiting for? Put your thinking cap on and begin writing!
TIP – Never be afraid to tread where no one has ever trodden before. Your book is your world, your universe, and you can do whatever you like. Advice does come in handy, but if your buddy tells you that setting a novel in Antarctica is lame, don’t listen to him! Who knows, your book, with all its weirdness and oddities, might turn out to be the next international bestseller!