Character building and setting

I’ve been going over my second novel (provisional title: Through Stranger Eyes) and in particular trying to make sure I have created a fully fledged main character. In doing so, I came across C. S. Lakin‘s post on Live Write Thrive where she suggests we ask our characters twelve questions related to the setting to present and create them in the most realistic way. As she says in the beginning of her post, “When choosing settings for your scenes, you want to think about the kinds of places that will allow the emotions, needs, dreams, and fears of your characters to come out.

In my second novel, the setting is an important element of the story and goes hand in hand with the plot for a reason. In cyberpunk worlds (such as in Through Stranger Eyes), the fall of moral and social values alongside the disproportionate rise of technology that makes life easier for very few, could easily have its roots in the socio-economic structure of today. In that case, the setting can (and in my mind, should) be something not only to set up tone and mood for a story, but to also create awareness in the subtlest way possible.

Of course, no one expects a fiction writer to go that deep into sociology and philosophy just to tell a good story. But we are expected to create well-rounded characters, with their hopes, fears, and memories, and at the same time flesh out worlds for them that could easily be real, regardless of the genre. Hopefully, these questions will help all of you in this pursuit.

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2 Responses to Character building and setting

  1. Thanks for this article. My overall settings are always part of the plot, but I needed to be reminded of this when choosing individual scenes.

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  2. That makes two of us, Ellen. Quite often I get so focused on delivering a scene in a way that will reveal something about the character, that I forget about the influence the setting has on that character.

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