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13

Time is based on an Event. We are in the year 2010 because someone inaccurately took the birth of Jesus Christ as the base (hence b.c. And a.d. denominations). Other cultures have other years, I believe either the China or the Arabian countries have a completely different year. In the Star Wars Extended Universe, the battle of Yavin is the base for their ...


11

Sometimes for me, when growing the setting first, I find it generates new characters, details and interactions that lead to a story organically growing out of the exercise. There are many ways to start putting a story together and very few are right or wrong. Still… Pros A cure for writer’s block; if you want to write but don’t know where to begin, ...


10

Interrupt the character. Have you read The Hobbit? Gandalf had to make a lengthy explanation, which he didn't want to get boring, so he set up the dwarves and Bilbo to interrupt him from time to time. From a cat flashing by to another character getting in, there is much you can do. Having the character unwilling to talk, but being coaxed into telling the ...


10

If you look to Tolkien, you see no time. Everything is long ago, far away, in the past, whatever. I am a dork of the numeric kind, so I'm forever trying to squash my tendency to use "real" numbers, because I think it's mostly unnecessary, limiting, and a little jarring...When you speak, you never use exact time. The closest you're going to get is "a few ...


9

You're looking for balance, so the answer is double edged: Stay compelling by avoiding drifting off on tangents; don't explain about your world where it isn't relevant to the story at hand and to the readers' interest. Convey your world by choosing a structure and a plot where the elements you want to convey feature heavily. If your setting elements are ...


9

Either don't mention it at all or mention it fairly early. The reader is capable of building a decent image of the location in their mind and it's fine both for real locations and (even easier) for imaginary/undefined ones. That doesn't really matter. What matters is not to force them to break it down. It's extremely frustrating for a reader to build an ...


8

It sounds like you're describing an infodump (warning: TV Tropes), and that's a phenomenon best avoided. The issue is this: by your own description, the explanation is not interesting enough to hold the reader's attention at length; its purpose and significance will only be clear to the reader later in the story; and in this particular instance, it's also ...


7

I agree with the spirit of Kate's answer, but it glosses over an important point. Ultimately, it doesn't matter what you are describing as long as it's interesting and adds to the story. If you are writing a romance and the characters' mundane setting is what they are trying to break away from with their affair, then it is important the reader understands ...


7

Doing research is part of being a writer. So, don't know what that pavilion is called? Find out. Look online, look around the thing to see if there's a plaque that may give you a hint, heck, you could even ask some people in the area, like cafe workers. That said, you don't necessarily need to know what it is: ...spotted a large wooden platform ...


6

'Setting' is not the same as 'place' or 'world.' All of which are close enough in definition but since you said crime fiction I think what you meant is the setting, even though you go on to say 'the place' but let's cut to the chase and see what's going on here: Edit: I swear I'd read 'place' somewhere in the Q! Place: This's a subset of 'setting.' The ...


6

Phil Farrand of The Nitpicker's Guide to Star Trek called this "being the cabbagehead." Certain information had to be revealed to the audience, but it was information which the characters would reasonably already know. So the writers picked someone in the room to be the "cabbagehead," meaning someone developed the I.Q. of a cabbage and everything had to be ...


5

I think it absolutely depends on the type of story, and on the writer's goals. If you're writing a romance, and it takes place in a mundane office building, why waste space on describing the cubicles? If the setting doesn't advance the characters or the plot, gloss over it. On the other hand, if you're writing something set in another world, and you want ...


5

The first step is to hold back your urge to write. First do your homework, thoroughly. Learn. Learn a whole lot about the place. Start with Google StreetView and Panoramio. Proceed through Wikipedia to learn not just about the place but about landmarks, anything in the area. Find movies, amateur videos, anything to take place around there. Read blogs of ...


5

From a story standpoint, you have, more or less, two choices: Recount what's come before the current book, or embed critical information in the narrative itself. The more realistic it is for characters to talk about past events, the less need there'll be for a summary of events at the beginning of the book. But if you want the book to seem like a grand ...


5

If the location isn't relevant to the story then there's no need to mention it. In a fantasy, mentioning the location may help add to the colour and depth of the world, but it's still not vital. I very rarely state where a story is set. In a short story you want to keep the reader's focus on the story, and if the location adds nothing then it will only get ...


5

I think it's important to figure out why you were bored by the mining community setting. Is it because the character made too much of the details without giving the reader a sense of why they were important? For example, if the reader is following the character through a day in the mines, are the details important because we don't know if at any moment the ...


4

First of all: There is an entire spectrum between telling a disembodied story and painting every little piece of unnecessary detail. Both writers and readers have their preferences with regards to this. This is why different authors' styles appeal to different types of readers. The more you describe, the more you restrict the reader's imagination; the less ...


4

If the process you're trying to describe is complex or can be looked at in two different ways, you can explain it pretty much in those words. Because inside your story, the same tension and double-definition exists - so that can be how people think of it and describe it. Consider these two possibilities: If the nature of the convergence is widely known and ...


4

Are you planning to use dialogue or narrative for the description? If dialogue, and assuming that you've been careful to avoid the 'he exposited' syndrome, in which one character tells another character something that they both know very well as an awkward way for the author to get the information across... I'd try to break up the speech with reactions from ...


4

This question was famously addressed by Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking Glass: Glen Downey's The Truth About Pawn Promotion: The Development of the Chess Motif in Victorian Fiction explores the metaphor extensively.


4

Make the atmosphere and the perspective serve the story, not vice versa. It's a different story if your own home - the place you know in and out - transforms into a battle arena and either serves as your weapon, its nooks and crannies providing an advantage over the oppressor, or a traitor - a years-old companion turning on you and places you knew to be ...


4

In a case like this I would recommend looking up town records and using an old residential address that has since been demolished. This might take a bit of work, but gives the accuracy that your client seems to be looking for. Otherwise, look up some addresses and pick a number in between. Only locals would know the problem, and it would be a Platform 9 3/4 ...


3

"Write what you know" is a guideline, not a law, or every book would be an autobiography. If you want to write about other countries, you say you've done a lot of research, which is a great start. That will keep you from making basic mistakes, like having your characters drive on the incorrect side of the road or dress inappropriately. Beyond that, either ...


3

You can do both. You can start from an existing city (maybe give it a new name) and change the areas which do not fit (GTA comes into mind). If you have already an idea for the setting like "Oh, that should play in New Orleans" because of the (cliched) reputation of that city, then go with that. Your New Orleans does not need to be square inch by square ...


3

Not only do you have to take into account all the senses, but you have to understand which details your narrator would think were worthwhile to mention. When you describing your setting or location, you must think about not only what it says about the main character but also what details the narrator would include or leave out and why. For example, let's ...


3

Just another quick point to add to the already excellent answers. I've been known to develop really in-depth worlds as well, and it can be hard to step away and only use the parts you need for a particular plot/story. However. The thing that always helps me come to terms with it a bit more, and a way around having done all that research and planning ...


3

I try to describe something or someone the first time we meet them, so the reader has something to hold onto, and I do it from the POV of whatever character is in focus at the moment. So let's say we open with a squabble between a married couple over getting the kids to all their activities over the weekend. Mary says she's going to bed; Jane says she still ...


3

Get someone else to read the story and point out the sections that would require more fleshing out. As the author your perception of the text is tainted with the imagination of the scene. Things that appear obvious to you may be entirely unclear for the reader. The talent to forget what you know and read the story you wrote as if you'd have read it the first ...


3

Whatever works best for your story. If you can make it work in a real setting and you know or can research the setting well enough to make it work, do that. If your story requires something which doesn't exist, is or is not against a particular law, needs a river to be here rather than there, etc. then invent a place.


3

Focus on the effect you are trying to create in the reader. Maybe the most important of those is the emotional impact you are trying to create. Then: Choose the details that help to create that emotional impact. What details would help us to understand the character better? To understand what the character wants, and why it's so important to them? To ...



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