Thursday, August 24, 2017
#amwriting #Tirgearr author Enhance your story with the perfect #setting
How does the setting influence your characters and plot?
Please allow me to share my thoughts. In commercial fiction, your reader wants to experience adventure, be entertained, get lost in a different place. The reader imagines being the lead character having exploits, and visiting a setting other than his or her daily life, perhaps in a new country or city or world. Your reader wants character, plot, and a setting realistic enough to connect.
Have you noticed that fiction is divided into two camps? Authors write a synopsis based on either character or plot, but everyone agrees characters do things, overcome adversities, and make decisions. All agree that stories must take place somewhere, the setting. Character, plot, and setting are the big three. The setting affects mood, event possibilities, and even character temperament. With various genres we know a reader leans toward certain places and time periods.
I write contemporary romantic suspense. Heroes are ex-military but heroines can be plucky, girl-next-door amateur sleuths. Both have obstacles, and what they do changes their lives. That’s the character first part-- motivation and conflict, insight, goals, and desires. Readers enjoy characters’ thoughts and dilemmas. A deep knowledge of character provides the connection.
What about readers who crave action scenes such as romantic suspense? There are more opportunities for decision making in a plot-driven story, but the plot is not what drives the story, it is the characters and what they believe in. Plot events are secondary to the character’s thoughts, emotions, and growth. Events drive that growth. Be sure your characters are likable so that your reader cares.
A setting is where and when your story takes place. Scene locations such as an office, bedroom, bar, cave, or forest are described along with countries or planets era or age, and time of day. In my Donahue Cousins series, the setting and new characters produces a new story, but there are similar threads. The antagonists are connected to the Irish mob. In Deadly Alliance terrorists take over the existing mob. In Unholy Alliance the heroine searches for her cousin whom she believes was kidnapped by an Irish mobster. In my work-in-progress Bittersweet Alliance, the cousin, a lost sheep who did not want to be found, is a villain. Your setting influences character type, word choice, pace, tone, even genre. Setting enhances story by enfolding plot and character in a place where they fit, where their strengths can best be highlighted. My heroine in Bittersweet Alliance is Hawaiian and has insider information about the Big Island where serial kidnappings are taking place. This setting helps Jolene Kualoha and events shine, giving her a backdrop where she moves deftly within the society. Jolene sees clues that hold story elements together. This is a reunion story. Jolene and Danker Donahue were dating in UnholyAlliance, but it ended is a mess with him named as a father in his prior relationship. She pushed him out so that he could be a dad and family guy with his ex-girlfriend.
Make your setting appropriate to your story!
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