Setting of a Story: Tips for Choosing a Setting and Examples

Writing a captivating story is a lot more than just being comfortable with putting pen to paper. You might handle other forms of writing but struggle when writing a story if you are not armed with the right information.

In its simplest form, the setting of a story is when and where the story takes place. It consists of the geographic location, the various locations in that region, and the time that the story takes place. This means things such as a bar, a character’s place of work, or a restroom could be the setting of a story.

Role of the Setting of a Story

A setting plays a major role in contributing to the atmosphere of a story. It is usually a background of all that takes place in the story. The setting of a story is not any less important than the characters in the story. As a matter of fact, the setting is usually responsible for giving life to the story. This makes it just as vital as the characters in the story. So, if you fail to get the settings of a story right, the story might not be as effective as it should be.

The setting of a story can be fictional or real. It is usually up to the author of the story to determine what the setting will be like.

Tips for Selecting the Setting of a Story

setting of a story

Source: Quizizz

Knowing what a setting of a story is and what it does for a story is important. Beyond these, however, it is important to know how to choose the right setting for a story.

That being said, below are tips to help you choose the right setting for a story.

Carry out Ample Research

In the absence of ample research, it will be difficult to create the right setting for a story. Are you writing a fictional story about an event that occurred in real life? To get the settings right, you will need to find out what the event you are writing about was really like at the time it took place. When you do this, you will be able to properly depict the series of events associated with such an event.

Also, read Plot of a Story – The 6 Elements of a Plot Explained

Doing this might not be very easy. However, you can get started by getting on Google. With Google, you can find out first-hand images and accounts of the events you are writing about. Google can go a long way in helping you have a great idea of the ideal setting. However, there are times it simply might not be enough. In situations like this, you have to physically visit the location and even move around a little to come up with the right setting. When you do this, you will get the right sensory experience.

To a large extent, it is almost impossible to go wrong with your setting when you take out time to physically visit the location of events you are trying to write about.

Your setting Should Give Live to Character Development and Actions

There are various ways to tell a story. You can decide to tell a story from the third person or first-person point of view. Regardless of how you decide to tell your story, the setting should be expressed mainly through the experience of the lead character.

With the right setting and motivation, your character development will likely be superb.  In essence, when choosing a setting, you have to give character development a lot of consideration.

The Setting Must Support the Plot

The setting of a story is not supposed to exist alone. It is supposed to work hand in hand with the plot. When choosing the setting of a story, you have the freedom of selecting various physical locations which make up a significant setting. These physical locations should add a great effect to the drama that makes up the story.

Do You Intend Using an Imaginary or Real Setting?

When writing a story, ideas are bound to pop up with time. As these ideas come into your mind and you develop them, you will have to decide if the various actions that get results will take place in an imaginary or real location.

Also, read Becoming an Author: How to Write a Book in 7 Simple Steps

While it is up to you to really decide what type of setting you want, sometimes, the type of story you are writing is a major determinant of the type of setting you should have. Are you writing science fiction? If yes, then, your setting will most likely be in an imaginary location. On the other hand, if you are writing about an event that actually took place in real life, you will likely make use of a real location. Nonetheless, you are free to use an imaginary location also.

Does Your Story Need a Particular Setting

When writing a story, every writer is free to choose between a backdrop setting and an integral setting. If you decide to work with the integral setting as a writer, you are settling for a particular time and place. Once an integral setting is chosen, other elements such as transportation, dress, and language will adapt.

Unlike an integral setting, a backdrop setting is not specific. If a story takes place in a city that does not have its name revealed, it will have a backdrop setting.

Types of Setting in a Story

As a professional writer, to write a very appealing story, you will need to know how to take advantage of the setting of a story to keep your audience glued to your book. This is an amazing thing to do. However, before doing it, you will need to know the different types of settings and how you can take advantage of them.

The two types of settings in a story are integral settings and backdrop settings.

Let’s take a closer look at these two types of settings.

Integral Setting

The integral setting of a story is a type of setting that is vital to a story’s script or plot. This is a type of setting that needs the story to pass a strong message and also make sense to the audience. As long as the setting of a story is known as an integral setting, then, you can be certain that it is impossible for the story to take place in another setting. This explains why it is known as the integral setting.

Also, read Climax of a Story Explained (Definition & Examples &Tips)

The integral setting of a story has a major role to play as long as the scenes in the story and mood of the story are concerned. It is also used in projecting the theme of the story. Going by this, if you have a detailed understanding of the integral setting, getting into the minds of your audience with your story will not be very challenging.

The integral setting comes in handy to make the audience know that the setting is really vital. When this type of setting is not used in the right way, it might not have any effect on the story. However, when used properly, it becomes easy for readers to grasp the setting. That’s because the setting keeps coming up through the story.

Backdrop Setting

This type of setting is generally considered the less significant setting. This, however, does not mean it should be ruled out. The backdrop setting is a type of setting that is not vital to the plot of the story. Regardless of this, it is appealing to the imagination. Generally, backdrop settings are not described in detail. Additionally, they are not very developed. Due to this, the plot of a story does not have to take place in a particular location. As long as a writer has the creativity to come up with a location, things will work just perfectly. Additionally, this type of setting could be at any point in time and is not specific to location.

Also, read Top 10 Most Unique Literary Elements of a Story

When a story focuses more on a character than location, backup settings are known to come in handy. Basically, the story needs this setting so the scenes can exist. However, stories with this type of setting are never focused on the location but on the events taking place. They are very concerned with the relationships and actions of the character.

Examples of Setting in a Story

There are several stories we can pick as examples to tell what the setting of a story is.

Example One: Prince of Persia

Time: Prince Dastan as a boy.

Location: Ancient Persia

Example Two: The epic movie 300

Time: Leonidas asking

Location: Ancient Greece

Writing a Setting in a Story

As a writer, it is important that you master the art of keeping your readers engaged always. One way to do this is to master writing a setting.

When looking to write a setting in a story, the tips below can help you come up with the right setting.

Tips on how to write Settings of a story

Descriptions are always better than outrightly spelling out a location

When writing a setting, you should focus more on describing key factors about the setting and letting the minds of your readers do the job. You should avoid outrightly naming landmarks. Giving a vivid description of a landmark is a lot better.

Also, read Book Publishing Made Easy: Follow These Simple Steps to Publish a Book

If you’re trying to tell your audience about the existence of a football stadium in a location. It is better to describe the sounds coming from the stadium and at what time of the day. When this is done, they can easily deduce it is a stadium without you having to tell them there is a stadium in the location.

Get inspiration from real-life locations

Describing a setting properly might be difficult. So, to make things easy, allow real-life locations of the setting you are painting to inspire you. If you are trying to talk about a club in a story. Instead of simply writing about the club the way you think it should be, it’s better you visit a real club and incorporate some of its features in the story you are writing about.

Take advantage of figurative language

Using literal descriptions can get the job done. However, you can create much clearer pictures in the minds of your readers when you take advantage of various figures of speech.

Simplicity is key

Avoid overloading your readers with several details. You only need to give them the details that matter the most. When overloaded with details, the setting might end up being weak as they will have too much to hold on to.

The Takeaway

Since coming up with the right story is very important, therefore, the setting of a story will always remain relevant. So, the earlier you master how to come up with the right setting, the better your writing will be.

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Hi, I'm Benedict. The founder of Bennyselfpublishing Academy. A platform designed to teach people how to write and publish their books online and offline from the comfort of their homes. When I am not writing, I am outside playing football or watching my favorite team Chelsea play.

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