Sunday, January 8, 2012

"Setting" up the New Year

Happy New Year!

I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season. Ours was quiet but very nice. We were able to be with family and friends, and the weather was great for traveling.

I've been working on some new stories which will be released this year. More on that in the months to come.

This week I'd like to mention a few things about settings for your stories.

Generally, when we think of "setting" we're talking about the geographic location of a story. My book "Montana Match" and its sequel "Montana Magic," for example, are obviously set in Montana. More precisely, they're set on a ranch in Montana.

In some cases a story can take place only in a specific geographic location. If an author is telling a story about the Alamo, for example, the story must be set in Texas. In other cases, it might be possible to set a story in a number of locations and still have an effective story.

The most important setting for my two "Montana" books is the ranch setting. I determined my story had to take place on a ranch. Next I decided the ranch had to be in the West. I suppose I could have chosen Wyoming instead of Montana, but I didn't because Montana, to me and I think to many readers, projects a more grandiose picture which is what I needed as a backdrop to these two novels.

As a matter of connotation, Montana, like Texas, conjures up pictures of people who are fiercely independent, landscapes which are vast beyond imagination and states of mind so hopeful they imply anything is possible.

My point? Setting has as much to do with connotation as it does with geographic location. Because of the image projected by Montana, I chose it as the setting for my ranch in "Montana Match" and "Montana Magic."

When choosing the setting for your book, consider the geographic location and what the land, the county, the city, even the house and the room in the house connote to the reader as well as what they denote. The implications of the setting can have a very positive reinforcing effect on the plot and characters of your story.

Again, Happy New Year. God bless you in every way, and good luck with all your writing pursuits this year.


Fran Shaff, Award-Winning Author

No comments: