Friday, August 13, 2010
Don't forget the setting
I just want to talk about something many authors may forget. It’s something as important as any character or plot twist. It’s the setting. If an author doesn’t know the story’s setting at least as well as any of the characters, they could wind up annoying the reader. Whether you want to write about the neighborhood you grew up in or the place you visited for a day or that place you dream of one day visiting, be sure you know your setting. I’m not a big fan of writing about something that exists today but that you’ve never visited. Often when that happens things get misrepresented, such as in Supernatural where a medium sized town was represented as a small town. Small things like that will only be realized by the people who live around the settings or who have visited the places themselves. Some readers that are rather unforgiving about settings are in historical and science fiction genres. There are a number of websites that make a point of showing the inaccuracies of historical films, if your historical book goes big, you will have to answer for any little detail you may have misrepresented. (An example that comes to mind was a movie that the actor gave a length of measurement before the time period when that measurement had been created.) As far as science fiction goes, one of the easiest ways to lose credibility and readers is to make a mistake with the setting or the science. For instance: having a land dweller able to breathe in a water planet without an explanation or having a problem for one member of a species that another member of the same species doesn’t have in the same situation. Then again, that also has to do with consistency and that is a different blog.