Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Book Talk: A Sense of Place

As mentioned previously, I attended a couple of writing workshops earlier this month.  I already shared my thoughts on the one discussing fact in fiction.  Today, I want to chat about the second workshop - A Sense of Place.

Every story has three main aspects - characters, setting, and plot.  For me, characters tend to be THE most important key to a good story.  If I can't connect to a character, react for the better or worse, I tend to not connect to the story.  However, one of the panelists disagreed by making this argument (loosely quoted) . . .
"Characters grow out of the place.
Action (plot) grows out of the characters.
Therefore, place is fundamental."
The setting of a novel provides the reader accessibility.  It allows us to fall into a story with pre-conceived notions.  If a story is set in southern California, for example, we think of surfers and movie stars.

I cannot deny the importance of setting.  A good example of this for me is with the book Blind Your Ponies by Stanley Gordon West.  I felt a special connection to this story because it was set in a small town in Montana - one I am both familiar with and can relate to from my younger years in a similar setting.

I don't deny the importance of setting.  Yet, this conversation really has me thinking about the significance of where a story takes place.  How important is setting?  How does setting play into fantastical worlds?  Can setting make or break a reader connection?  I want to know your thoughts.

How important is setting to you?  Do you think it is as fundamental as the panelist noted?


  1. I don't know the answers to the questions, but place is very important to me.

    1. Tea norman ... I'm curious - Why do you think it is important to you?

  2. I haven't considered the importance of setting so much. Generally, I think it can enhance my love of a story or a connection I have personally, but I definitely wouldn't say it's the most important element for me.

    1. Andi ... I'm on the same page as you! If I had to choose, characters will always win for me. I thought it was interesting to think about though!


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