How would a setting change make your story different?
|Gone With the Wind|
For some of our guests, the answer is pretty sure: I couldn't tell this story in a different setting. It's too much a part of the story.
For others, a setting change wouldn't make much of a difference--the setting is a backdrop. Maybe if you changed the time, okay, especially when you're talking to science fiction writers. You usually have to have a certain level of technology to have a sci-fi story.
I got to thinking about this question recently when I listened to another podcast critique my books: my setting of a slightly-altered Kansas City was the latter rather than the former, a mere backdrop for my stories. I hadn't intended to do that with my books, although I would say the stories are more focused on the characters and the plot than where the story actually takes place.
But should you have a strong setting for your story? A sense of time and place?
It depends on the story. It depends on your writing style. It depends on how intrinsic items found in your setting are to the characters. As Kat Heckenbach told us on our show, the fauna in her Toch Island Chronicles was exceedingly important to her stories. She couldn't imagine setting it anywhere else--and couldn't since it would have impacted many facets of her story.
How is it for your story, though? Would your book benefit from a more heightened setting, one that takes on the position of being a character as in some of the books and movies I mentioned above? Or is a backdrop more appropriate?
Only you can decide.
For further reading:
Are you asking these important questions about your setting?
Tell me: Is your setting a character in your story? Are you happy with that, or is it something you plan to change?