“… I attended a Fire in Fiction workshop given by über-agent Donald Maass, and Maass brought setting home to me for the first time. ‘World development is context, not description,’ he said. ‘Emotions are what pull the reader in, not details. Not plot. Not description. Emotion.’”
Medieval Demographics Made Easy (S. John Wright)
Among the topics covered: how many in that kingdom; town and city population; merchants and services (handy chart to determine how many shoemakers or carpenters or even butchers a village might have depending on population).
Partly Cloudy, Scattered Showers: Setting the Scene with Weather (Larissa Ione)
“Used properly and creatively, weather can have a tremendous impact on your story. Weather happens twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week in the real world, and so it should in the world of fiction. …Use it to create setting, to highlight emotion, and to pull the reader in with something to which everyone can relate.” The second half of the article gives ten tips to avoid common mistakes writers make.
The Power of Setting (Barbara Samuel)
“…I strongly believe that a novel cannot be great without a powerful setting. Get setting in place, and all the rest falls together. Setting is about detail, about weather and landscape and the personalities spawned by those places.”
Setting (Keith Gray)
“…setting can be the conflict in your story. …adds to the atmosphere and mood of the story. … can add to what you’re trying to say about your character. … a slice of virtual reality.”
Setting (Lori Handeland)
“…have you ever considered a setting can influence your entire novel and the readers' response to that novel? If you get it right--if you describe the setting so brilliantly the reader can picture it without ever having been there--poof! Magic occurs. The reader is in the midst of your setting and therefore in the midst of your story. But if you get it wrong--oh, oh--the reader's suspension of disbelief is lost.”
Setting as Character: An Interactive Approach (Jade Lee/Kathy Lyons)
"Just keep in mind that each setting needs to reflect its owner. ... And then ... the POV character needs to see it per his/her own peculiar precepts."
Setting: Creating the Flavor (Sylvia Dickey Smith)
“A writer can start with their setting, and then develop the characters and the plot. Or they can begin with the setting and the characters, and then develop the plot. There is no one ‘right way’ to begin. Develop your … novel in a way that works for you. The key ingredient is that you are in love (or hate) with your setting whether it is a real place, or it is one you create in your mind, or a mixture of both.”
“Practice your powers of observation throughout the day… Sharpen your visual memory… After you’ve written a scene, get some colored pencils or highlighters and attach one color to each of the five senses--yellow for sight, red for sound, green for touch, orange for smell, and blue for taste, for example. Now go through your scene and underline or highlight any descriptive passages according to which sense they appeal to. Try to make your pages look like a rainbow, rather than mostly yellow.”
Setting Isn’t Just Time and Place (Janet Dean)
“Use the details of your setting to enrich your story. Setting should advance and strengthen your plot. Setting can heighten emotion, reveal character, emphasize mood and conflict. By using setting as a character to interact with your characters, you’re showing instead of telling. And you’re increasing the emotional impact for the reader.”
Setting – The Backbone of Your Story (Janet Corcoran)
“The 5 basic elements of setting, besides time period, are physical locale, customs and manners, lifestyles, and historical events.”
Setting Thesaurus (Angela Ackerman)
After reading this post, check the lists on the far right side of the blog. Scroll down until you get to the Setting Description Thesaurus and you’ll see 70+ settings to click on, ranging from abandoned mines to haunted house to old pick-up truck to zoo.
Using Your Setting Lists (Theresa)
“…a setting list can help break things loose by letting you approach scene construction from the most-overlooked angle.”
Wherefore Art Thou? (Connie Sampson)
“Setting is much more than a place to hang a story. Well done, setting will immediately draw the reader into the place and mood of the story, making him part of it.”
World-Building 101 (Hayley Lavik)
“Every world needs to ring true and fulfill its contribution to the story. Fantastic, historic, and yes, modern settings all need to maintain their authenticity and sincerity. That's where the world-building comes in, to build tone, mood, facts, and details that combine into a whole, thriving setting that feels alive even when the reader closes the book -- all the more reason to keep that book open.”
World-Building 201: How to eliminate the info dump (Hayley Lavik)
“The same as spelling out every detail of a character's appearance can alienate a reader from identifying with them, laying down every nuance of a world, or a backstory, removes the reader's chance to interpret for themselves. Show us what we absolutely need to know, and let us draw the pattern of things according to our own preferences.”
Writing Dynamic Settings (Kimberly Appelcline)
“…when creating the setting for a story, make it as dynamic as possible. ... Rather, use setting consciously to communicate specific information to achieve a particular effect on your audience. … You can also use setting to enable plot – especially through encouraging movement and raising audience questions and expectations – and develop character…”
I hope these resources have been helpful. Please share any that I may have missed.