1. EmilyChristine
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    EmilyChristine New Member

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    Building a believable environment

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by EmilyChristine, Aug 24, 2012.

    Hello everyone! I'm fairly new to WritingForums and am still gaining my bearings, but I figured I'd hop in and tackle one of the major problems I find with my writing. I've often been critiqued on my lack of environment and the fact that I develop characters too much before creating a believable setting. Does anyone have any specific tips on introducing a realistic environment (whether it be actual or fictional)?

    Thank you in advance! :)
     
  2. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    I tend to create mine as I go along, so I don't know if it's necessarily the right way to do things. However, with that said, environment can be anything from how your characters interact to the physical description. The key is to create a world that's believable, which several books and movies do well. Check out a listing of the 50 best novels of all time, then go to the library and read them...that'll give some keys on how to accomplish your goal.
     
  3. DanesDarkLand
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    DanesDarkLand Senior Member

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    The setting evolves or is created as you write. You can't hope to throw a large amount of information about the world on which your characters are playing and expect people to digest it all at once. As you develop the scenes, and as you write the action for the character development, you should also be telling a bit about your world, and why things are happening they way they are happening. Robert Jordan did an amazing job of this in his Wheel of Time series. You find him introducing elements a bit at a time, villains, heroes, ideas, and the environment while he's doing it. You can't separate the environment from the characters, because world history, problems, and the like are what make people who they are. Think about you as a person. Where you were brought up, the house you lived in, the political structure of the area, or lack of, the school system, education, all those details made you the person who you are, not just the people you interacted with.
     
  4. TheSerpantofNar
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    TheSerpantofNar Active Member

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    I look at pictures and study weather of the places I want to emulate in my writing at least I try to :)
     
  5. Eva-Athena
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    Eva-Athena Member

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    Try being descriptive with your setting. For example, instead of just saying 'the lake,' say 'the murky, secluded lake at the edge of the darkened forest' or something like that. Also, try describing what your character sees, smells, hears, and feels in these scenarios. When your character first arrives at a new place, try letting them describe it with their own eyes. Really, almost any setting. is believable as long as it's described well. Try making sure your character develops with the setting. If your character is at home, can he/she look out the window and describe what's outside? Can your character describe her/his room? Whenever your character enters a new environment, it's best to take a paragraph to describe what your character sees/hears/smells/tastes/feels or whatever.
     
  6. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Like Eva said go with precise words, and clear images. When describing a room/setting allow it bounce off an idea,
    reveal something about your characters. Say a girl is going to college and she walks into her dorm and sees
    half already decorated by her roommate. You could say the walls were plastered with posters or you could say -
    Lisa groaned. Oh, chees, another Twilight fan. And all the Robert Patterson
    posters had lipstick prints obscuring his pout. Purple lipstick.

    Setting shouldn't be lists of items - it's about creating a mood. When you walk into a new restaurant - you're eyes are everywhere
    but mostly you're taking in the atmophere rather than the spindle back chairs, or the wagon-wheel chandeliers. Even if you mention
    these items it's to relate back to a vibe your character's getting from this place. Is it safe to eat here? Clean. Is it a fun place?
    Will I have a good time? Does the food look good and smell good?

    Think about your own settings - your bedroom or favorite niche to read or hangout - what makes them special?
    Items or the memories attatched to the items.

    A good way to create atmosphere is in how your slant your descriptions.
    A cold woman whose afraid of intimacy might have a very stylish but ultimately
    sterile apartment, devoid of anything that might reveal a past or passion. You
    can even reinforce this by calling the walls glacial gray, hospital white sheets,
    a vase full of prickly pinecones.
     

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