Many people mistakenly think settings only involve the place the story takes place, but place is only half of the setting. The time in which a story happens is the other part. Where and when are two important questions readers need to know to make more sense of the story context. Some readers visualize the scenes, and the time period suggests clothing, policies, and even political and religious issues of the period in which one writes.
For example, in the book, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, by Elizabeth George Speare, the setting is critical. Both the time and place increase tension in the plot. This book takes place in 1637. The pilgrims were prevalent in the early Connecticut colony, and witchcraft was a cultural issue with their religion. Kit, the main character, dresses much differently than most people in this colony where she moves, and her behavior and speech causes suspicion among the colonists. These traits create interest and tension for the reader.
Another example is in the book, The Hatchet. Even though the story takes place in present day, the place is critical to the story. The main character finds himself alone in the forest by a lake in the middle of nowhere. His survival depends on finding food and shelter. Gary Paulsen does a very skilful job in creating tension and excitement for his readers through this setting.
In my books, a lighthouse is the major setting, and the time period is mostly the present. In my second and third books, events from the past influence events in the present time.
Can you think of an example where the setting played an important part in a story you read? What is the book(s) and how did the setting (remember both time and place) impact the story?Please leave your comment below. Thanks for visiting my website and reading my blog. I hope you’ll interact with me about reading and writing.