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4 Simple Ways To Create Spell-Binding Locations in Your Novel
The setting in your novel is essential to create context and contribute to the mood in your story. A detailed environment will active your readers' imaginations and transport them to the world where your characters live.
But how can a writer create this fictional setting in a way to draw readers in and make them experience the location for themselves?
1. When creating your fictional environment, you want to ensure that the reader can experience it with all their senses. Here, you will use the 'show not tell' principle to describe the location to your readers. Besides appealing to their sight by describing the scene, also use sounds to create atmosphere. For example, if your character is lost in the forest, the sound of thunder and the flashing of lightning can convey a feeling of danger. Or create an eerie feeling by adding creaking sounds and unfamiliar noises to the abandoned building your character is exploring. Walking into cobwebs in the dark and bumping into unknown objects can add to the drama in a thriller. In a crime novel, you can describe the smell of rotten flesh, leading the protagonist to discover a murder victim and providing vivid details about the clues the detective must follow to catch the culprit.
2. As a beginner writer, it can be easier for you to use an actual location you are familiar with as the foundation for your fictional world. It will help you outline the setting in your novel and add depth to your characters' world. Or watch videos and documentaries about unknown places, use specific details from them, and use your imagination to add intrigue to your setting.
3. Like with character development, descriptive language is essential for setting the scene in your novel. Besides literal description, you can use metaphors to create a graphic picture in your readers' minds. It is especially effective if it represents something your reader knows. For example, the ancient statue reflects the light like the colors of a rainbow against a clear sky. Using a metaphor activates the imagination, helps the writer to convey emotions and finer nuances, and lets the reader think in abstract ways.
4. Keep your descriptions simple to ensure that your reader doesn't get lost in too many details. Describe only the essential aspects of the setting, working on finding just the right descriptive word rather than long sentences or paragraphs loaded with unnecessary adjectives to describe the location. Be specific with your details by using functional adjectives. Instead of talking about the children skipping over the rocks in the river, convey a sense of beauty with your use of descriptive language, e.g. 'The children skipped over the ragged rocks covered with green moss in the river sparkling with the colors of the rainbow.'
Start setting the scene as early as possible to draw your reader in, and let them experience the mood you are creating for your plot. Since many people use reading fiction as a way to escape, provide your readers with intriguing and spell-binding settings to transport them away from reality.
How to Describe Setting in Literature
How To Write Descriptions And Create A Sense Of Place
The effect of a metaphor on your readers
Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Susan van der Walt