A quick tip on setting (from someone other than me)

This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series Power in settings

I’m not the only one who thinks setting and emotion should go together. Last week, Nathan Bransford linked to some writing tips from author Janet Fitch. And what should we find but this (emphasis mine):

6. Use the landscape

Always tell us where we are. And don’t just tell us where something is, make it pay off. Use description of landscape to help you establish the emotional tone of the scene. Keep notes of how other authors establish mood and foreshadow events by describing the world around the character. Look at the openings of Fitzgerald stories, and Graham Greene, they’re great at this.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that every scene has to begin with six sentences detailing the room, or that a book has to start with a chapter overview on the city it’s set in. It does mean to pay attention to how setting is conveyed. (Like I did with The Cruelest Month, but really, it was unavoidable in that book.)

And I think that using character emotions and perceptions to help set that emotional tone is going to be one of the fastest and easiest ways to create it.

What do you think? How else can we establish the emotional tone through setting?

Series NavigationSetting: it’s not about placesSetting is about peopleSetting with distant POV