Setting as Character

I came across a great post on world-building, by Magical Words. It got me thinking about my own work-in-progress, Last Leaf Falls. I’ve been struggling a little bit with the setting, maybe because it’s based in the real world (sort of), but in a fictional town in Maine.

Photo by Jim Borden, Northern Maine, where my story takes place.

Photo by Jim Borden, Northern Maine, where my story takes place.

The author of the post uses Friday Night Lights (I’ve never watched it myself) as a good example of how to make your setting come alive, to actually become a character in your story:

How is Dillon [the fictional setting of the show] different from any other contemporary town in Texas? It’s really an antagonist for many of the main characters. It can be a villain, and often presents a barrier to the happiness and success of the characters we come to love and care about.”

“Razziecat” also made an insightful observation in the comments:

“One thing I notice right off is that it’s not so much the place itself as the history of it, the people who live (and died) in that place, and all the ways they interact with their home, be it city, country, planet, etc. The energies that flow back and forth create something bigger, something with a life of its own.”

What I need to figure out is, does my main character’s hometown of Easthollow act as an antagonist or an ally, or both? Does it live and breathe and grow like any other good character, or is it stagnant and incidental to the story?

So, what to add to my long list of things to do? Watch Friday Night Lights of course! Research is so hard…. download

How do you ensure that your setting is as vibrant as your characters?



 You can find the rest of my posts on the subject of writing, under the category The Writing Process, found in the right hand column of my blog.

Awesome photo of Northern Maine was found on Jim Borden’s website: JJ Wildlife Photography. Click on the link to see more!

About sharonholly

writer, reader, music-lover, glamorous facilitator of literacy...
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2 Responses to Setting as Character

  1. Harliqueen says:

    What a great post, and such a good point. Setting is such an important part of a story, it definitely needs to feel as real as the characters themselves 🙂


  2. sharonholly says:

    Yes, and it’s something I need to constantly remind myself about 🙂


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