Preparing for NaNo: The Setting

As you continue to plan for National Novel Writing Month, one element you should consider is where the events of your novel takes place. Will it be in a fantasy kingdom? Outer space? A run-down apartment in New Jersey? A remote forest far from civilization?

If you haven’t given much thought to the locales of your novel, now would be a good time to do so. You may have a few scenes in your head, but have you given much thought about the surroundings of your action? Are there objects that the characters can use? Is there some sort of historical significance to this particular location?

Of course, trying to think of the setting can lead to inspiration of its own. Perhaps you hadn’t thought about the living room before, but perhaps this is the same spot where the hero’s great grandfather passed away 30 years before. Will history repeat itself? Or maybe that old, twisted oak tree harbors a nature spirit that’s been watching the neighborhood for hundreds of years. What stories will the tree spirit share with the little girl who leaves Twinkies in the old oak’s roots?

An Internet search can help with inspiration. Or consider the Web sites of real estate agents, and take a look at some of the homes that are for sale. Take a look at photography blogs – like Enchanted Forests – and see if there’s anything there that piques your interest.

Also remember the old adage – write what you know. Many authors have written stories and novels based around their childhood homes, or their current residence, or places they have vacationed. Don’t hesitate to follow in their footsteps. You know your house, or your apartment, so why not have your character(s) live in a similar location? If it’s familiar to you, you should be able to describe it in a way that it will become familiar to your readers as well. As much fun as it might be to jump into a completely alien locale, at least starting from a place that your readers can relate to will help to draw them in.

Like with yesterday’s tip, if you have the artistic talent, go ahead and draw the scenery, or use rendering programs to create the landscape. Sometimes those visual aids can help in generating the words you need to describe it.

As usual, have fun with this exercise! Tomorrow, I’ll go ahead and wrap up my brief ideas for preparing by giving the biggest piece of advice that I have. Are you getting excited for National Novel Writing Month? Then you’ll love what I have to offer next!

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