Creating a strong sense of place will influence your novel’s mood and theme, as well as its genre and tone. Are you writing a dark thriller, set in a dreary rust-belt town? How about escapist women’s fiction, set in the sunny Tuscan countryside?
There’s more to bringing your setting to life than describing scenery. The way your characters perceive their surroundings will reflect who they are, as well as their social circumstances. Do they long to escape? Are they happy? Think about your character’s gender, race, class, and the historical context of your novel. A marginalized character will perceive her city differently than someone of privilege—even if they walk the same streets everyday.
In this talk, we’ll explore how setting can be a character in and of itself, the advantages of setting your story in a familiar place, how to write detailed and emotional description, and how the past informs the present.