Top FIVE settings as a character


by Rudy DeesArticle Categories: ,


In great fiction, the setting is alive. These places not only feel extremely real, these places are dynamic. Evolve. And affect the characters in the story—such settings become actors.Donald Maass has said, “Powerfully portrayed settings seem to have a life of their own, but how is that effect achieved?”Writer’s Digest suggests these techniques:Line details and emotionsMeasure change over timeRealize that history is personalSee through characters’ eyesAs a child, and even to this day, my special place is a stone house on Pico Island in the Azores archipelago. The views from our home include the majestic volcanic cone, the surrounding Atlantic Ocean, etc. All of these illicit emotions of peace, calmness and tranquillity for me and my family.Throughout my own history I have seen changes that include the installation of the town’s first telephone, a bathroom to replace the outhouse, and changes to decor and furniture. In 1998 I experienced an earthquake […]

Before the Wands of Harry Potter, There Were Lightsabers

light sabre2

by Rudy DeesArticle Categories: ,


Does a Jedi choose its color or does the crystal in combination with the Force choose the color for the Jedi just as the sorting hat chooses houses for the Hogwarts students? Here are three interpretations: 1.  Power Some sources claim lightsaber color function like the ranking system in the military. For example: Blue indicates Jedi Guardians who use the Force on a physical level and/or who have not learned enough, e.g., Padawans (Jedi trainees). Green indicates Jedi Consulars who reflect on the mysteries and use of the Force, e.g., Jedi Masters. Yellow indicates a Jedi Sentinel, a Jedi who uses balance in the physical and mysteries of the Force, e.g., Jedi healers. Red indicates Sith, who use the dark side of the Force. A red lightsaber is associated with power and strength, and knowing the mysteries of the light and dark side. It is also the color of anger […]

A New Perspective on Setting


by Jessica SladeArticle Categories: ,


Recently I picked up a book by one of the TedTalks most popular clips: Before Happiness by Shawn Achor. As I read through how happiness can be as simple as a matter of perspective, I realized that this is true for all perception.  When we go somewhere new, on vacation for example, we see everything. We notice the flowers, the color of the sky, the architecture and the clothing of the people around us. We take it all in because to us it seems all new. But when we’re back home, we often don’t see what’s right in front of us. I was recently on the subway when I saw a guy dressed up like Spiderman. Seriously, full outfit with mask and everything. Though this was interesting, what was more interesting is the number of people who didn’t notice. Those who were lost in their music, buried in their books, […]

How To Properly Use Setting in a Novel


by Carrie De SimasArticle Categories: ,


Focus your character’s awareness of the setting through the sharp point-of-view (POV) of their emotional, psychological and social backgrounds. What they see and notice (aka what they/you as the author share with us) has to mean something.  For example, a man I once dated took me to meet his best friend. While we were there, my boyfriend insisted I see the photos of his best friend’s wedding. Now, for some women this might seem an indicator of his future intentions in our relationship but the backstory of our courtship had already shown me otherwise (fine by me because marriage talk tended to give me the cold sweats too). As he flipped through the photo album, he paused on the pictures of his best friend’s family. This detail imprinted on my memory. I didn’t know (at the time) why my inner camera had focused in on all of this, just that […]

How Much Research to Use in Historical Fiction & How Shakespearean Acting Can Help


by Fred E. Whyte Article Categories: ,


How has Shakespearean acting helped you with your historical writing? CE—Characters I play onstage and the characters I write about in my novels come from the same source. There is a place in my subconscious where all these people live, ready to tell their stories. They don’t seem to care which audience I choose, but I do have to choose. I have tried to work on a book while performing in a production, and I can never do both at once. Whether on stage or on the page, my characters are jealous friends.  How much time do you spend researching the time periods for your books? CE—Research is a huge aspect of writing historical fiction, so for The Queen’s Pawn and To Be Queen, I spent a lot of time looking into the courts of King Henry II of England and King Louis VII of France. When I’m writing my Regency romances, […]

Effective Setting Techniques – Tips by USA Today Bestselling Author Mary Buckham


by Carrie De Simas Article Categories: ,


What is the most common mistake that writers make in regards to setting? MB: I’d say it’s assuming the reader can see what the author sees, or what the characters are meant to be seeing. But if we don’t give the reader enough information they are left to their own assumptions. Example: what do you think a pond looks like? Is that going to be the same image as someone who lives in East Texas, London or Alaska reading about your story set in North Dakota, Thailand or Somalia? If the Setting matters to the story let the reader see and experience what your character sees and responds to in that specific Setting. Being vague and obscure leaves the readers at arm’s length from your story. How can writers successfully use setting as a metaphor or symbol (either of theme or character development?) MB: Change how a character interacts with […]

From Hero to Villain – Using Setting as a Metaphor for Character Development

Alexander Kavalier - ALG

by Fred E. WhyteArticle Categories: ,


A Living Ghost, by Alexander Kavalier, is the story of a young boy, Jack, whose family’s misdeeds have landed him in King Henry VIII’s prison. His family has all been killed and there is no rescue coming for the young orphan. And he knows it. Trapped in the London dungeons Jack is visited by a something from the other side, offering him the vengeance he desires against his captors and those who have caused him harm. A Living Ghost follows the tale of this young boy’s tragic end and transformation into a malevolent spirit. This dungeon becomes a metaphor of sorts for the state of Jack’s psychological and emotional being. Kavalier: “The dungeon is obvious, Jack is imprisoned, stuck in darkness and ‘living’ at the mercy of other people. The darkness and physical pain reflect the anguish occurring within him. When he passes over, Jack is immediately freer.” Once Jack […]

How Can Setting Be A Character


by Karyn ConnorArticle Categories: ,


Remember back in school when English teachers taught the man against man, man against nature, etc., themes? My English university professor at the time would actually fall asleep during his own lectures. His head would bob down in the middle of a sentence. That sums up how I felt about it. This was symbolic of how boring all this theme and setting stuff was to me at the time. A book was good or it wasn’t. You could pick it apart, and figure out how it all fit together, but did an author actually sit down and think: Hmm…how can setting come alive and really fuck with the character? Turns out, they do.What’s more, the book using setting as a character doesn’t have to be a fantasy novel. Setting can come alive as a character even in contemporary novels. Author Joshilyn Jackson uses the kudzu plant as a type of […]