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Take a look at your environment.

Is it neat and tidy, everything in order, in its proper place? Or are there clothes on the floor, coffee stains on the table, and a layer of dust on the blinds?

Your environment can speak volumes about your personality. So too, with your characters!

(Personally, my writing room is a mixture or the two above descriptions – so I’m a part – neat- slobby writer, who needs to dust!)

All of the above details are important for character development. You as a writer are creating a person who has all the personality traits, quirks and mood swings as the rest of us!

So, the setting is as important as a character’s mood swing, or the plot lines.  Why, do you ask? Because setting helps us understand the character, as an author and as a reader, that enables us to connect fully with the overall story. Readers want to feel that they know that character, and that includes the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!

Details matter!

Just by describing a room, a place, a vehicle, even the contents of a handbag – we are transported to that time, that place, in the story. It helps us understand the actions and events that our character will embark upon in its telling.

Take this paragraph from Stephen King’s Misery:

“She had gone out to do the chores. He heard the dim crunch of her footsteps on the snow. She went past his window wearing a parka with the hood up. Her breath plumed out, then broke apart on her moving face. She didn’t look in at him, intent on her chores in the barn, he supposed. Feeding the animals, cleaning the stalls, maybe casting a few runes – he wouldn’t put it past her. “

The MC, Paul Sheldon is describing the actions and setting outside his trapped bedroom. It aptly conveys his sense of isolation – the feeding of the farm animals – and his mood of despondency as he watches the world go by without him.


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So, make a list of your character traits, quirks, physical descriptions.

Then, put them into a setting – is it an urban city? Or a rural, country setting?

A country setting evokes images of peace, tranquility, relaxation.

A city evokes images that are fast-paced, stressful, hard-edged.

So, mix it up a bit! Put your character into a country environment in which they are stressed, isolated, unable to cope (just like in Misery).

By the same token, place your character in an urban environment where they meet their soul mate and fall in love.

Also, think about horror, sci-fi, historical settings and themes – there are endless possibilities!

Happy writing everyone! 🙂

#writing  #writingtips #characters #settings #stephenking #misery