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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How much artistic license with history is needed for historical fiction?

I'm writing historical fiction and I'm at the research stage. My question is how much artistic license and fudging things with history do you need to do or should you do? The setting's the recent past ...
2 votes
1 answer
87 views

Fictional settings & fictional towns - how to be realistic with geography for a realistic setting?

I've been writing a short story - and the setting is semi-important to it, it's not just a backdrop. It's historical fiction of a sort - the 2000s is the era it's set in. Would this qualify as a ...
0 votes
4 answers
170 views

Is it morally right to base a novel on a tragic historical event?

I'm writing a historical fiction based on a historical tragedy where many people died. It's a very specific setting and situation, but I'm not using the names of any of the real people involved in the ...
0 votes
3 answers
98 views

How does one describe a setting that is going to be a central location in a story?

I have a location in my story that is a key central hub which much of the interaction surrounds. An example of this might be the bar in Cheers or Greendale Community College in Community. I want to ...
12 votes
4 answers
948 views

How can I strike a balance between setting and plot?

I'm not a fan of Tolkien's work, but it's relevant to my question, so take it as a reference point. I love linguistics, culture, and worldbuilding, but sometimes have difficulty focusing on specific ...
2 votes
2 answers
267 views

Having Real-World Gods in a High Fantasy Setting

In my fantasy world, there are various religions and beliefs. To not get too obsessed with the worldbuilding (it is already pretty thick and heavy,) I was thinking of, in terms of their religions, ...
0 votes
4 answers
183 views

Writing about a story that will take place on Neptune - how realistic should I be?

I’m trying to write a new short story that will take place on a craft that is on Neptune (or “in”, depending on how you want to look at it since it’s an ice/gas giant.) How important is realism to ...
1 vote
3 answers
288 views

How to make sure a character is not too similar to an existing character

In my story, I am writing a side character for my fantasy epic. Originally, she was going to play a very minor role, but now she has more character and interaction. Unfortunately, I fear she may be ...
10 votes
4 answers
3k views

Do I need to create fictional places to make things work?

The story I'm writing takes place in the USA. I have a huge problem as my protagonist is crossing states and needs to end up at a place where a lot of things have to come together. Like there need to ...
5 votes
5 answers
269 views

How could I show good worldbuilding without ending up with info-dumps?

A horror story I am writing involves the protagonist in another world. It is like an isekai, but it is horror and the protagonist is trying to survive as long as possible. The main story surrounds the ...
4 votes
4 answers
1k views

Storyboard a Novel?

Sometimes I'm a contrarian and like to think things through backward. What about thinking first of a movie and then writing a novel about it? Would it make sense to storyboard and script a novel ...
3 votes
6 answers
3k views

Real cities & placing fictional cities

I'm currently experimenting with a story and its setting for a comic. The overall setting is simple: it is set in the real world, though slightly different (towards science-fiction), and primarily in ...
0 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
4 votes
3 answers
261 views

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 ...
14 votes
5 answers
1k views

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, ...
3 votes
6 answers
52k views

How to create a good name for a fictional nation in my story?

I really have problems giving the military nation of my protagonist a unique, but also serious name that fits into the whole military nation thing. So here are my questions: What makes a name sound ...
20 votes
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. ...
3 votes
4 answers
950 views

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 ...
2 votes
3 answers
110 views

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 ...
1 vote
0 answers
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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,...
2 votes
2 answers
144 views

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 ...
0 votes
2 answers
111 views

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 ...
2 votes
3 answers
125 views

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 ...
2 votes
6 answers
405 views

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 ...
0 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
21 votes
7 answers
4k views

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 ...
7 votes
4 answers
277 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 ...
4 votes
2 answers
136 views

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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
217 views

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 ...
2 votes
2 answers
316 views

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 ...
1 vote
2 answers
334 views

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 ...
5 votes
6 answers
2k views

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 ...
1 vote
2 answers
238 views

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, ...
2 votes
2 answers
203 views

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?
7 votes
2 answers
772 views

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 ...
6 votes
3 answers
125 views

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 ...
6 votes
4 answers
740 views

How early in the narrative should I start my book?

I've just recently finished building the setting and plot of a fantasy coming-of-age story. I'm happy with the way it turned out; the character arcs feel compelling and the setting supports the plot ...
4 votes
4 answers
262 views

Can I use prominent people in history to as characters in my fiction?

I am a little puzzled. I want to set my story in a real era that happened; like say, the American civil wars during Lincoln's time, and involve the then prominent figures like Lincoln and McClellan as ...
12 votes
7 answers
3k views

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 ...
1 vote
6 answers
268 views

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, ...
6 votes
3 answers
311 views

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 ...
10 votes
4 answers
1k views

Character, plot, and setting conflicts

I'm working through the Sanderson youtube classes on writing fantasy and he discusses the idea that conflict can arise between any two (or three) of the three legs of a story - plot, character, ...
0 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
2 votes
2 answers
132 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 ...
3 votes
6 answers
3k views

How to create feeling with setting

I have a passion for setting. I've heard you should write about what you're passionate about. Now when I say passion I mean I like to visualize the fantastic place the author is describing to form a ...
16 votes
5 answers
1k views

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,...
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 ...
11 votes
6 answers
2k views

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 ...
3 votes
5 answers
261 views

Should I force-developing a story to a setting I have?

I have invented a setting I think is kinda cool, but I have no story for it. Now the question is - should I develop a story for this setting or is it bound to be a bad story, because not developed for ...
9 votes
6 answers
558 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....