Setting and Location of Your Novel

alienOnce you have your unique idea for a story, you have to decide on setting and location. Where should your story take place? This is dependent on many factors, not least of which is what type of novel or short story you are writing.

  • Fantasy – you’ll need to build your own world with its own set of rules
  • Mystery/Romance/Contemporary etc. can be set in our own world … but where, and when?

Crafting Your Novel – Wednesday afternoons Aug. 3 – Sept. 14 (no class Aug. 10) For more details email

Setting your story in a city you know well and love always makes sense. You’ll be able to bring it to life and people who know it will be able to recognize it – always thrilling to recognize familiar landmarks in a book you’re reading.

Here’s a little exercise for those of you interested in trying your hand at writing. Choose one of the following prompts and write 250 words or one page about it. Let your imagination run riot. Send it to me if you like and I’ll tell you what works and what doesn’t. The worst thing you can do is think too deeply here. Enjoy the process of thinking anything is possible. If you enjoy writing the exercise, try the other prompts as well. You never know – you just might end up writing a short story or novel about it.

  1. A castle filled with ghostscreepy castle
  2. Your home when you were six
  3. A major city like New York or Los Angeles seen through the eyes of someone who has only lived in a small village or hamlet
  4. Earth if you were an alien
  5. The ocean as seen through the eyes of a mermaid

Instead of writing straight narrative description, try to look at the setting and location through the eyes of the person discovering the beauty or strangeness of the scene. Try and become the person, seeing the scene through that character’s eyes. 

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