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  1. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    Your settings...

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by spklvr, Feb 2, 2011.

    Do you stick to the same type of settings in all (or most) stories, or switch a lot?

    I'm wondering because after reading through several of my older stories, I've noticed that I always make the setting either a big city (like NY or LA) or a desert landscape (New Mexico and Nevada mostly). I wrote a fantasy novel once, and it takes place in a fictional world made entirely of desert with large, modern cities spread around...

    So do you stick to the same type of settings or switch it up?
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    What an interesting question - I mostly avoid major cities, although my fantasy books are set in the palace and a temple in one - they are harder to describe in few words. My fantasy books are usually by the sea, in a palace or a temple. On a farm in the woods. My fantasy books are set in an area that is like the one I live in which has a beach, hills, woods, towns, villages, big medieval buildings etc

    I am setting my first Gus and Iris near a beach lol

    Reverend Allsopp and Captain Bliss are stuck on a desert island.

    Actually the only stories that aren't near a beach are some historicals and my innuendo Sherlock Foam which is set in a hardware store.
     
  3. TheStrawman
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    TheStrawman New Member

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    I really switch it up. I actually force myself to switch it up. If I write a comic, story, or scene that has a major 'college' or 'school' element, I force myself to switch to something else the next book. If I ever go back to writing about a school, after all these other settings, it won't be similar at all. I try to really mix it up.

    And by mix it up I mean: going from a Greek setting to a modernized cityscape, to a wasteland, to dorm life, to an office space. I try and incorporate different elements all the time. Just to see what I am best at.
     
  4. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    My novel atm takes place within a city in England but if I ever get down to writing the second one...I'll definitely switch it up. Probably to a town in the hot Bahamas to the cold and snowy Russia then to a fantasy place. My stories mostly take place in the countryside though xD
     
  5. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    I guess I just stick to what I know. I lived on Manhattan for two years, then six months in Santa Fe before moving back to Norway :p

    Still, it bothers me that I'm not more versatile. It just doesn't come natural to me to write about other places, though the stories themselves are very different. It goes from horror to romantic comedies.
     
  6. Heather Munn
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    Heather Munn Member

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    Come to think of it, everything I've written that isn't fantasy or midrash (expanding on a biblical story) is set in France. I grew up there.

    I actually don't feel bad about that and don't think other people should either. I think setting & sense of place are very important to make a story feel really grounded, and if you don't know the setting intimately there's so much you're missing. There's these little details you can put in here and there, if you really know your setting, that give it texture and life. Of course some people can probably get to know a setting very quickly, it's not like you have to use the place you grew up, but I'm just saying that to me it's more important to know it thoroughly than to be versatile.

    I actually have a lot of trouble with setting when I do the biblical stories, because they are the types of stories I'd love to do in really textured detail but I've never been to the Middle East. I'll probably just have to go someday...
     
  7. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't feel remotely bad setting most of my stories in North Scotland, place is beautiful, the scenary is amazing and it has almost everything I could possibly need by way of setting. At most I change the weather :)

    On top of that the names are great for fantasy - Covesea is pronounced Cow-see locally and is an area with a beach near here.

    I also have Pook, Culbin, Burghead, Glasburgh etc
     
  8. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hmm they are mostly different. Well my fantasy short stories all seem to take place within the same world. Actually a few of them have the same characters in them.

    But I pick the setting that best fits what I need.
     
  9. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Most of my stories are set in a rural, alternate-history version of North America, especially Southern Ontario or Vancouver Island (places I've lived, so I know the geography). Right now, though, I'm working on a story set in the city of Toronto immediately after some kind of apocalypse, so the city is intact but almost deserted.

    These are places I know well and love, so I don't have to invent much. I don't feel in any way ashamed of using familiar landscapes - these landscapes are part of my inspiration, anyway, so I have to use them.

    I have a series of science fiction stories on the back burner involving other planets, so I have to come up with amazing imaginary worlds for that.
     
  10. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    I favor settings I've been to (Sierra Nevada high-elevation forests, the Boston area) and settings I can make up with a bit of research (small towns in the late Renaissance, the domed tunnels of the moon colonies).

    I have serious doubts about any work of mine whose setting I can't believe in, so sometimes my fantasy gets derailed as I try to figure out the placement of various settlements in relation to one another, to natural features like rivers and lakes and rock outcroppings, and to roads or pathways.

    Right now I'm in the middle of several stories, and their settings are pretty varied. A SF novel set in my California hometown. A short story set just off MIT's main campus. A forested area with a major road through it and a small town with a stone tower where the wizards are. On board a generation ship. Another long story (novella or novel depending on its length when I'm done) that starts in grassland on the edge of oak woodlands, and moves into foothills and mountains, then into lower lands and a port city, and I'm not quite sure where the characters are going to end up, though I know one of them will likely quit and go back to the first setting before the story's done.

    If it makes you feel better, though, spklvr, for the first few years my writing was thoroughly stuck in California's foothill / mountain area. It wasn't until I became more comfortable with my writing that I felt okay to branch out and try something less familar, something I could get wrong.
     
  11. Heather Munn
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    Heather Munn Member

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    Wow, no kidding. I wish I lived in Scotland! I live in Illinois now, and even though it's one of the few hilly places in the state... it's amazing how much you can miss rocks.
     
  12. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    LOL although my Mom in Law from Colorado calls our mountains pimples :)

    However it varies so fast out my back window I have a reasonable sized hill with a forrest at the top. I am less than a mile from a ruined abbey that was built in the 1300s, sea is less than 3 miles away. I have a rugby pitch/football pitch etc, RAF based across the road, graveyards.

    About the only thing I don't have within 10 miles radius is a skyscraper - although there are a tall block of flats in Aberdeen :)
     
  13. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I tend to write where ever or whenever. And I switch around a lot, often within a story.

    The biggest thing I have is the story I basically learned everything from writing, so it goes up in the air, on mountains, several different types of palace or castle, a forest, underwater, a desert, a city, a tiny rural town... not an exhaustive list of the places my main characters travel to. :p

    Mostly, though, I stick to towns and cities and woods, usually in some sort of unspecified England location. I've used London in the Victorian era, and unnamed mixtures of cities like Birmingham and Brighton that I know really well. Little villages, sea-side towns...

    I always have an interest in writing something set either in California or New Mexico since I know them a little, and sometimes I have tried writing stuff set out there, but the stories were pretty lame, so I never developed them. :p

    I don't really have much confidence writing other cultures though - it frightens me that I'd get something wrong, and I do so much research into the past already that if I ever write something not-British, it has to be historical for me to be comfortable. :p
     

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