Questions tagged [setting]

'Setting' refers to the stage a story is told upon. This is usually defined as a location for the story, but it can also include feelings, events, and even central objects. Anything the story is grounded in.

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Questions about deciding place settings in a story

I'm currently... in this quite conflicting situation that I have put myself into. I'm gonna try and explain everything. For my story, I initially (what I have in mind right now) want the place ...
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How to create a scene for a dialogue?

Everybody knows how an important part of writing is the ability to compose proper dialogue. I've even heard that publishers tend to jump to the first conversation in a received draft and see if it ...
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How do you make superpowers interesting in a written medium?

Superhuman powers, with the exception of psionic abilities like telepathy, are primarily an element of visual spectacle. This is primarily why fiction with people with some form of superhuman ...
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Should I reveal real location of events in my book?

I wrote a non-released-yet adventure/sf book, in which events take place in a real city I know (actually, this is where I grew up). Most of the places I mentioned there are real, except only for those,...
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How much altering geographic details can one get away with an urban setting?

I'm wondering how much latitude authors can have in general when it comes to details of an urban setting. I know the oft-told story of "the parking lot of Wrigley Field", where Jim Butcher ...
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Are there any sources which depict the environment of Indian Civil / High / Supreme Courts reasonably accurately?

I am looking to write a crime thriller set in India which has some setting in a high court, where the suspect and the victim will be questioned and their statements cross-examined. I'm a bit ...
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2 votes
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Is it OK to replace real-world locations when writing?

I'm writing a story set in Bristol, UK (specifically the town of Avonmouth). So far everything has been geographically accurate, but if I want to make the story flow smoothly, I may have to replace ...
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Problems with impersonating someone of the other gender in high school

This question https://writing.stackexchange.com/questions/55633/restrooms-for-characters[1] inspires me to ask about a story idea I have been thinking about. The problems of using a fake identity as a ...
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When is it better to use a real life versus a generic fast food company name when talking about a regional chain?

So, I know that questions regarding the usage of real-life company names has been brought up before, but this is a really weird example that I've run into that doesn't seem covered by the previous ...
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2 votes
6 answers
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Does This Geopolitical Power Balance in my Setting Make it Look Like I am Promoting Colonialism?

Background The book series I'm working on can basically be summed up as a science-fantasy series that starts out leaning much more on the fantasy end of the spectrum but moves more and more towards ...
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13 answers
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How do I provide exposition on a magic system when no character has an objective or complete understanding of it?

I'm writing an urban fantasy series in which like many urban fantasy series there is a magic-and-powers system hidden from the broader world that the supernatural phenomena of the series run on. ...
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I don’t know where to go next in terms of the setting of my story

I am writing a comedy horror series. The first book was set in a basement, the second book was set in a Ski-Resort and the third book was set in Italy, meaning that each book’s setting was ...
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21 votes
8 answers
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Is it appropriate for me to write about the pandemic?

I'm a young writer who has been writing a story centring around a teenager's life and how it's changed via the coronavirus. She was skeptical about the legitimacy of the Pandemic until an important ...
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7 votes
4 answers
199 views

How to describe a setting but without making it too cliche?

There is this one author technique that I find a bit cliche, which is matching the mood to the setting. This means that for example, when one character is upset, the skies are grey to match the mood ...
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14 votes
5 answers
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How to clearly distinguish the settings of different scenes from each other, and make them "feel" different?

Background I've been working on doing nitty-gritty editor revisions of my detective novel in preparation for publishing, going over sentences and picking through details. In the course of the story, ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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Realistically writing culture shock for this character? [duplicate]

I want some help writing a character. Her name is Christina and she lived in an underground bunker, in a post-apocalyptic world, so she’s really sheltered. But she has to leave, along with a group of ...
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Beginning a story in a bar, good or bad? [closed]

Currently writing a novel about a man spiraling downward following a divorce, among other things. I want the reader to be grabbed by this man even though by all accounts he's a bit of an unsavory ...
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How to Describe Topography

I have an image in my mind but I can't describe the topography, so I would always repeat, "grounds", "a little elavation", "inside the forest","some mounds,"surrounded by houses", is there any ...
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2 answers
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Setting exposition vs scene descriptions

If my main character goes to a new building – let's say in the beggining of a short story – and I describe the facade and the design of the building, is this exposition (i.e. information that is not ...
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2 answers
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How to convey the anatomy of a humanoid race? [closed]

I am writing a extra-terrestrial high fantasy novel. The story is completely set in an alien world. No visits from Earth and no visits to Earth. My characters are humanoids, who look like elves, ...
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2 answers
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Is having elaborate metaphors ever a bad thing?

Is having elaborate metaphors a bad thing in a short story (for the purposes of the story being accepted by a magazine)? How can I know if my metaphors are too elaborate?
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7 votes
2 answers
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Can I say this about real countries in my fiction?

I am writing a visual novel and use a fictional country in "real-world" setting. Some cases have been bothering me and I'm not sure if it's legal to write this because it might be insulting(?): To ...
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6 votes
3 answers
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Transitional sections

As I mentioned in my other recent question, my novel in progress has three main locations. I feel those three settings are strong, fully imagined places, with interesting storylines. However, they ...
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12 votes
7 answers
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Magic is the twist

It feels silly to say, but I've got myself into a bit of a bind of a side project. In a three-act structure (not what everyone uses, but a good reference point) you generally need to set up all ...
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what techniques or approaches can I use to explore distasteful concepts while also making them necessary?

In my story democracy crumbles in a nation, replaced by a powerful dictatorship. Our world has been invaded by servants of the elder god, Nyalathotep. Governments have been fighting back for years, ...
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6 votes
3 answers
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Balancing setting, theme, and character arcs: how to deal with a setting that carries emotional weight but is left behind?

When writing a story, how do you find a good balance between the significance of different elements, such as plot, themes, and bold settings and characters, and the character arcs? In my case I have ...
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In fiction, can I write about Downing College, Cambridge? [duplicate]

I have included, in my fictional book, several mentions about Downing College, Cambridge. Now they have a fete on their lawns. Two Russians are killed there during the fete. No mention of staff ...
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2 votes
2 answers
114 views

Exhaustive research vs artistic license?

I'm working on a post-apocalypse novel set all over the world. I'm fairly flexible on where some of the events take place, but there are often specific requirements on the look, layout, general region ...
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16 votes
5 answers
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How to make a setting relevant?

One piece of feedback that I got on a story I wrote is that my settings feel irrelevant, or that the entire book could have been a phone call. I am not sure how to go about fixing this. The characters,...
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11 votes
6 answers
2k views

Any advice on creating fictional locations in real places when writing historical fiction?

I am currently working on a historical fiction novel set during the tail end of the Harlem Renaissance, in the 1930s. As such, I would really like to have the story take place in Harlem. However, the ...
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11 votes
6 answers
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How do I write real-world stories separate from my country of origin?

I live in India. And the stories I write don't want to. The thing is, as you all might already know, my country has an extremely- excessively, perhaps- rich cultural and historical heritage. It's ...
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9 votes
6 answers
485 views

How can I effectively research for a high-fantasy setting?

When you write in a modern day setting, you research the culture, climate, location and history of that setting. You can do the same for historical fiction or low-fantasy settings based on real places....
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5 votes
3 answers
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Is it acceptable to use props I saw in a movie in my story?

I was watching a movie and, in multiple scenes, the characters were using a set of coffee cups that I haven't seen before. I realized my Main Character is the type of person who would have and use ...
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2 votes
3 answers
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How do we write a story about genocide committed by a fascist government without falling into the "Nazi Germany" cliché? [closed]

Too often, when people make a story about genocide committed by a fascist government, the story often devolves into a Nazi Germany cliché, especially when the story is set in a modern or futuristic ...
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6 votes
4 answers
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Finding out about other countries' military day-to-day

Where does one go to find out about the day-to-day of military life? In countries other than my own? I don't mean combat - I mean the boring routine. Basic training. What kind of food is served in the ...
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9 votes
2 answers
230 views

When writing in a school context without ever having been to school, how do I make sure that my story is accurate within school context?

I read a lot of YA fiction, a lot of which happens to take place in schools. Recently, an idea jumped into my head for a YA-ish story and told me that it was going to take place in a school. The idea ...
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6 votes
4 answers
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Are fictional inventions trademarked?

I am wondering if I can include fictional inventions like the power suits in Iron Man. I believe that "power-suits" are used legally by a lot of media; however, what if the power-suit you're ...
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-1 votes
2 answers
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Is a nuclear apocalypse cliche? [duplicate]

My post-apocalyptic novel occurs in 2122. In canon events, around the year 2018, after many years of global war, a chain reaction caused the launching of all the world's nuclear missiles and after ...
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12 votes
3 answers
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Writing short stories in an original world setting [closed]

I'm writing short stories in a Fantasy world setting I have created — medieval times, magic, dragons, etc. People who are familiar with such a world may not find a problem reading a short story set in ...
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3 votes
4 answers
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How to introduce a foreign idea to readers

I'm writing a book with a world similar to ours but at the same time is very different. I don't know how to do it smoothly without overloading the reader with information but at the same time giving ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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How much description is too much?

A companion question for How much description is necessary, how much description is too much? I close my eyes, I can visualise my MC's bedroom (for example) in tiniest detail: the accent wallpaper, ...
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16 votes
5 answers
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How much description is necessary?

I have trouble imagining things. With me everything is blurred, as if I were almost blind. That's why I find it hard to describe things. For example, the protagonists enter a castle. I have a very ...
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6 votes
4 answers
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How important is the apocalypse in a post-apocalyptic story?

I am writing a story set after an apocalyptic event that has left only 0.1% of the world population intact. I originally wrote a zombie-like apocalypse but simplified it to a plague-like disease, as I ...
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10 votes
5 answers
917 views

In the background of the Future

As I've mentioned multiple times, I'm writing a military sci-fi novel. The focus of the story is war, and that happens far away from Earth. However, I'm starting with my MC's "normal", on Earth. It is ...
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14 votes
7 answers
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What are the advantages and disadvantages of setting a story in a made up country, compared to a real one?

I have story ideas that involve civil wars or revolutions happening while a character is travelling. I was wondering what would be the advantages and disadvantages of setting such a story in a made up ...
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20 votes
8 answers
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First quarter friends

As I've mentioned before, I'm working on a military sci-fi novel. Here's the trouble with the military: you don't spend all of your service, start to finish, with the same people. Not all the people ...
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15 votes
6 answers
7k views

How do you normalize a taboo custom in a setting that most readers would not agree with?

This setting' world is populated by witch covens that function as both royal houses and political entities. They are matriarchial, with witches had the head of families who directly control their ...
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5 votes
6 answers
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How can I establish my story's setting in the first chapter?

In the first chapter of my trilogy's first act introduces the protagonist, other major players in the series and the series' setting. The bulk of my trilogy takes place in a city that has been ravaged ...
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4 votes
4 answers
252 views

How do you tell the reader that the setting is normal modern day?

I am getting some feedback on my writing but one of the questions that come back is that the readers are not sure about the setting. White the story was marked as fantasy, nothing fantastic had happen ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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Writing a short story set in a place I’ve never been

I’m writing a science fiction type short story set in Germany (actually Stuttgart). To some extent the location isn’t that important- it could be set anywhere but setting it there appeals to me and ...
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