Fiction Writing: Creating your own setting.

By Trevalyn Moore

When writing a novel, maybe one of the first things you need to think about is the setting for the story.

There are various choices available to you, if it's for non-commercial writing - maybe choosing an existing story setting is the best bet? Particularly if it's one you are familiar with? Many choose to hone their writing skills in this way - we call it 'Fan Fiction'.

Firstly there's the real world, a difficult setting to write in beause of accuracy - if you are writing about a a detective, you really want to know how 'being a detective' works in the real world. Obviously for most writers this means doing a great deal of research.

The remaining option is to create your own.

The flexibility and creative freedom available from developing your own environment in which to write can be very rewarding. When it's gone well, it's proven incredibly successful. J K Rowling's world of Hogwards, and Wizards and Muggles is a fantastic example of what can be achieved.

Rowling may not have been 100% original in all her ideas, but by assembling the ideas into a cohesive alternate reality in which to write with it's own rules and structure she created a valuable piece of intellectual property.

Another example is Sir Terry Pratchett's Discworld Setting. A setting which now boasts nearly 50 books.

Some hardcore fantasy readers avoid Pratchett's light hearted look at the fantasy reality - I think this is a mistake. Discworld isn't so much making fun of fantasy, but more fantasy making fun of reality - which is what makes it so interesting - it mirrors the real world and points out some of the absurdities in daily life and human culture.

Research for your personal alternate reality will not be as exhaustive - after all you are making it up! You should still put pen to paper before you write the story.

For the sake of continuity it might be a good idea to draw maps, name places, if there are special rules in this reality - write them down, refer to them. Nothing spoils immersion like a bit of bad continuity.

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