Why is setting so important? And How can we create it? That is what we’re going to be learning today!
Why is Setting so Important?
You first must understand this: Readers care about your setting. Got it? Good. Now, understand this, to: Even though readers care about your setting, they will never ever (and I cannot stress this enough) care about information dumps about your setting.
Now, to the question: Why is setting so important? Well, this is what gives readers visualization. Without setting, your amazing plot and characters? They’re just…there. On the paper. They’re not in magical fantasy realms. They’re just on paper.
Here’s an example at how I failed to described my elven realm in my book a few years ago:
It was beautiful. Though that hardly describes anything. It was beyond description! A new world, it seemed. Amazing creatures flew through the air, and strange people walked around.
Umm…sorry past self, but…WHAT?
I’m pretty sure none of us know anything that’s going on right now. In my mind, I could envision the elves strolling along, the blinding rays of light coming down through unearthly tall trees…
…but I obviously forgot to mention that. Yes, yes, I tried with that ‘it was beyond description!‘ idea, but that…obviously failed.
When you’re describing something to your readers, the worst thing that you could possibly do it not describe and say, ‘It was beyond description’ or ‘It could not be described.’ I mean, what’s the point of describing, if you can’t describe it!?
How to Create Setting
Remember how above I was talking about the information dumps? Well, now I’m going to be telling you how you can describe the setting, even when you’re not allowed information dumps.
So, here’s the thing. We’re still going to be telling the readers a lot about the setting, in much better ways than an awful information dump. In fact, we have to be extremely sneaky about it.
Take these two examples for instance:
The flowers were blooming everywhere. Edna smiled as she stood in the doorway, and then turned around and went back inside.
Okay. To be fair, we at least have a small idea of where Edna is: In the doorway of a house, and then she went inside.
But what if you wrote something like this:
The beautiful flowers were made up of gold and silver colors which bloomed everywhere. Edna smiled, and took in a deep breath of the cold yet cool, crisp morning air. After gazing longingly one last time at the fields which were starting to glitter under the rays of the morning sun, Edna retreated back inside her house.
Admittedly, this was a much longer paragraph. Why? Because I added details. I showed to the readers how the flowers were gold and silver. I made them feel what type of air it was, and the longing to go into the fields which were starting to sparkle under the morning sun, which also explained that little detail that it’s actually morning time.
Personally, I would be much more entranced in a book that had a description like number two, over number one.
Is There Such a Thing as Too Many Details?
Yes. Again, too many details could honestly only result in an information dump.
Sometimes things can get cocky, too. Take a paragraph like this for example:
Defiantly, Kenna stalked out of the parlour, her head held high as she went into her room. “Yes,” She thought proudly to herself. “I did good.”
Whereas this one is buttered over too much:
Defiantly, Kenna promenaded out of the dazzling parlour, her pretty head held high as she strutted into her room. “Yes,” She declared proudly to herself. “I did stupendous.”
By the time I reached ‘pretty’, I was already cringing. Stupendous? Not sure how many people say that on a daily basis.
Well, now you see the difference!
Try to pay attention to your descriptive paragraphs. Are they too long? Too many details, or too little?
I hope you enjoyed this post! If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment down below.
Thanks for reading!