How To Write A Setting For Your Next Fiction Masterpiece


Alexandra Stoddard once wrote, “When you leave a beautiful place, you carry it with you wherever you go.” In this quote, she was talking about places in the real world, but it is the same case with fictional ones as well.

As writers, we tend to create a beautiful scene with details of the setting to make the readers feel what our characters feel. A descriptive setting of a story allows the readers to be a part of the world you have created, which is why it is extremely important for a writer to learn and understand the core elements of a fictional setting and how they can use these tips in their writing.

At Hancock Ghostwriters, we understand the significance of creating immersive settings in a story. Our fiction writing services are designed to help authors bring their fictional worlds to life.

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What Is The Setting Of A Story?

The setting of a story refers to the time and place in which the events of the narrative take place. It encompasses the physical location, historical period, and social environment in which the characters interact and the plot unfolds.

The setting is a crucial element in storytelling as it helps establish the context, atmosphere, and backdrop for the events and characters, influencing the overall mood and tone of the narrative. A well-crafted setting can significantly impact the reader’s immersion and understanding of the story.

5 Tips For Writing A Good Fictional Setting Of A Story

While writing about a setting, you must make sure that it is so vivid and descriptive that the reader can clearly imagine the place that you have written about. For that, you need to follow these tips:

1. Wisely Pick Your Setting

Let us discuss the setting’s appropriability. As we mentioned earlier, your setting plays a great role in demonstrating the book. For example, Game of Thrones would have never been a hit if it was set in a city like New York, or a horror fiction like The Shining would have never been scary if it was set in a fairyland with bright colors.

This is why it is extremely important for you to make sure that the setting fits with the story before you start writing it. For some writers, picking the setting will be easy if their story is set in the present time, but it will surely be a task for those trying to build a completely new sci-fi world for their novel.

So, to help you with picking the right setting for your book, we have come up with a set of things that you should consider:

  • Think about when and where your story is taking place, and note the details. If it is a modern story with mobile phones and technology around, is it set in the current time or ten years in the past? Is it taking place in a certain country? If yes, then where? If there are multiple settings, then how much time are your characters spending in each place?
  • Is your setting fictional or real? If it is a real place, then how are you going to describe it to the readers who have never been there?
  • What role does this setting play in your characters’ lives? Do they have an emotional connection with it, or is it going to inspire them in the future?

Once you have answers to all of these questions, you will be clear on why you picked this setting in particular. Now is the time to construct it in detail.

2. What Makes It Unique?

Descriptive settings help the readers better understand the whole scenario, but not everything about the setting is worth writing about, which is why we suggest that you focus on what makes it unique. For example, while describing a city, you do not have to say that it is filled with tall buildings and people walk on sidewalks; every city has those.

Instead, talk about what makes them different from other cities. If someone has a city-view apartment, what will they see that will not be there in any other city? What is the air like? Is it fresh or polluted? Does it have any aroma in it?

Treat your location like a character. Just like you take your time and do the required research to design a character to make them pop out, do the same thing for your settings as well. You can ask yourself these questions for better understanding:

  • Does this place have a history?
  • What are the biggest landmarks of the place?
  • What is the residential area like?
  • How do people go about the city? Do they walk or drive?
  • What are the things that people like and hate about the city?

Whatever your answers are, they must have one thing in common, how does it affect your characters? When you try to find things like how the characters will approach and reach their surroundings, only then will you be able to describe them in a more attractive and fascinating way.

3. Describe Your Settings With All Five Senses

While talking about each setting in your book, instead of talking about how it looks to the eye, use all five senses to describe it. Talk about how it looks, what it smells like, how it feels, and even talk about the taste in the air. Is it sweet or sandy?

Using this technique will make the descriptive setting more personal to your character, and the readers will be able to understand each emotion your character will feel while they are in that setting. But it does not mean that you talk about all five senses to a setting every time it is mentioned.

Instead, use this technique to introduce a setting to your readers for the first time. Devote a paragraph to talk about the place and how it feels like at that specific time of the day.

For example, “Nathan opened the car’s door, and the moist air ran all over his face. He stepped out and started walking towards the gate. The silence was frightening, but to him, it was soothing. The rock-solid ground underneath his feet felt like a bed of roses. The sight of the mansion bathing in moonlight filled his heart with an overwhelming feeling.”

In just a few lines, we talked about three different senses:

  • Smell (moist air ran all over)
  • Sound (Silence was frightening)
  • Touch (the rock-solid ground)
  • Sight (mansion bathing in the moonlight)

Keep in mind the more you will show the setting to the readers with the help of the five senses instead of just talking about it, the more they will feel connected to it. Just ensure that you do not dive way too deep into the details. Only focus on what is important and what makes the setting more unique.

Transform your fictional world into a character of its own and learn the secrets of setting development now.

4. Build A Relationship Between Your Character And The Setting

Once you have the character and the setting finalized, now is the time to create a relationship between them to make the audience feel more connected. It can be any sort of relationship. For example, you are talking about a barn in the backyard, now showing that your character has some memories attached to it. Maybe your character has an affection for the place because it was where they had their first kiss, or they could be scared of it because it was where their parents were killed.

These feelings can also play a minor role in your character’s overall development throughout the story. You can show how your character overcame their fear and finally decided to walk into that barn. Whatever or however you decide to build this relationship, make sure that it is important for your story.

5. Keep It Easy To Understand For Readers

The final ingredient to baking a good and interesting story is by keeping your readers involved. You do not want to use such complex sentences that your reader gets busy figuring out the setting and forgets about the whole plot.

One of the biggest mistakes that many writers make is going way too much into the details. So, to avoid such a situation use the following steps:

  • Concisely introduce the setting. A few sentences with the required information are enough.
  • Do not describe every corner of the room. Instead, focus on what is important. Talk about things that make the room important.
  • When talking about direction, do not confuse the reader with a sentence like, “he rushed out of the room, went down the stairs on his left, and then turned right to head out of the building.”

Such issues will distract your readers from the main plot, which can also make them lose interest in your book. So, try to keep every piece of information straight and informative at the same time. If you are still worried about going off track with the narrative, you can always reach out to companies like Hancock Ghostwriters to edit your content.

What Are The 5 Elements Of A Setting?

There are a number of things that you add when writing about a setting in your book to make it more engaging. But these 5 are the core elements of a setting:

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1. Setting Description

As we have discussed, a descriptive setting is always appreciated. Try to talk about the climate, landscape, geography, landmarks, and what makes it unique.

2. Time Period

Talk about which era your story is taking place in. It will greatly influence the social norms, cultural aspects, and technology of your setting.

3. Society and Culture

Discuss the customs, traditions, values, and social structure of the people who live in your setting. We would suggest that you include different religions, ethnicities, and social classes to show variation in your book. It will make the whole book closer to the real world.

4. Technology and Magic

You are writing about fiction, so it is obvious that your story will either have highly advanced technology or magic in it. Now, what you have to do is determine what role either of them plays in the society that you have designed.

5. Species and Races

Include different species or races in your fiction book, and show how they coexist with humans. A great example of it is “The Lord of the Rings” books. Define what each race looks like, and talk about their abilities and culture. It will boost your readers’ interest and provide you with a larger ground to explore with different settings.

Aspects Which Best Describe The Importance Of Setting In A Story

The setting holds great importance in fiction books, as it delivers the context of the time, environment, and place that the story is set in. It also provides the readers with a better reading experience, and the setting also adds to the development of the story by setting the mood, plot, and character arc.

Other reasons why the setting is important for a story:

  • A well-written setting ties the character to the plot, theme, and events.
  • If a setting is mentioned in the book, it is there to serve a purpose.
  • The descriptive setting also evokes strong emotions. It unfolds the character’s state and allows the readers to feel it themselves.
  • When you describe the setting with enough details, it helps the readers visualize your vision for the book.
  • An effective and well-crafted setting allows your plot to flow in perfect harmony with the events.

Hiring An Expert To Help You With The Setting Of Your Fiction Book

Writing a fiction book is not an easy task. You have to consider a number of things, such as the character, the plot, and the setting as well. The overall book’s performance can get ruined if one of these things is not up to the mark.

This is why, if you have a mental block, or if you have too much on your plate, and writing is only adding more pressure to it, then we suggest that you hire someone skilled enough like Hancock Ghostwriters to get the job done on your behalf, while you focus on other things.

Hancock Ghostwriters is a trusted company with more than 1,000 satisfied customers. Their understanding of the author’s vision and excellent writing skills never fail to impress the client. They will listen to your ideas and make sure to polish them in a much more appealing and interesting way.

Wrapping Up

With that, everything you need to know about settings in a fictional book is concluded. Remember, everything in a fiction book is interlinked with each other. If you have a strong plot but lazy characters and an unnecessary setting, the story will get ruined, and readers will leave the book in the middle.

So, always keep it as simple and interesting as you can. Do not try to complicate your narrative or dive too much into the details. It will bore your readers.

If you found this guide valuable for sparking your creativity, you won’t want to miss our comprehensive guide on ‘How to Develop a Character for Your Fiction Novel.’ With this guide, you can discover the secrets to crafting compelling characters that will breathe life into your stories and captivate your readers.

Are you ready to turn your ideas into captivating narratives and begin your fiction writing journey today?


Why is the setting important in storytelling?

The setting helps establish the context, atmosphere, and mood of the story. It also affects how the characters behave and interact, making it a crucial element for reader immersion and understanding.

How can I make my fictional setting unique and memorable?

Infuse your setting with originality by adding distinct details, cultures, or rules that make it stand out. Think about how your setting can impact your characters and plot in distinctive ways.

How can I ensure consistency in my fictional setting throughout the story?

Keep detailed setting notes to maintain consistency in details, rules, and geography. Refer back to these notes as you write to avoid contradictions.

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