This summer, we’re introducing a new series called In Summary, where we collect up some of our favorite posts on different craft topics. We hope you’ll click on a post or two now, and that you’ll be able to come back later when you’re struggling with a craft topic so you can find a wide range of posts by our contributors (past and present) to help you along the way.
Place matters. A story set in Paris can be transported to Atlanta, but the story fundamentally changes because of the geography, culture, language, idioms, weather, daylight hours, experience of time, and so much more. Setting is much more than a map. A character’s relationship to the setting can change the story in fundamental ways.
Incorporating setting into a story can be complicated. Too much detail and the story gets bogged down. Not enough detail and it can feel like heads are floating in empty rooms.
Establishing setting is often about evoking the physical landscape of a place. But it can be so much more. These posts explore how to establish settings and leverage them to enhance the reading experience.
This post by Lindsay Lackey, author of All the Impossible Things, dives deep into Louisana’s world and shows how DiCamillo uses carefully chosen and repeated details to establish setting.
Kate O’Shaughnessy, author of The Lonely Heart of Maybelle Lane, explores the idea of a secret space in children’s literature, especially in M.G. Leonard’s Beetle Boy. She argues that a protected space where kids can establish community without adult supervision can open your story in new ways.
In this two part series, I look closely at how Lauren Wolk establishes the physical parameters of her settings through action and movement, leaving straight descriptions for very important moments. It’s a how-to guide for efficiently grounding your readers in a place.
Exploring ways to use setting as more than just a backdrop, Erin Nuttall analyzes this dual-timeline YA romance to see how author Erica George connects the external setting to the internal emotions of the main character.
We hope you come away from todays posts with new ideas, new tools, and new inspiration.
Anne-Marie Strohman (co-editor) writes picture books, middle grade novels, and young adult short stories and novels. She is trained as a teacher, an editor, and a scholar, specializing in Renaissance Literature. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is an active member of SCBWI. Find her at amstrohman.com and on Twitter @amstrwriter.