Basics of Writing: Setting, and supporting details
Posted by Chris
We have covered Character building, and world building so far this month. This is the third installment in the series. If you are interested in or perhaps missed the first two you can find them here:
Character Building: https://christopherjhillger.com/2019/07/18/basics-of-writing-character-building/
So lets first explain what I mean when I say setting and supporting details. They do sound a lot like world building after all.
So world building is the details within the world you built. For instance, a town inside a country, inside the world you created. Setting is more of the scene in which your characters currently reside. It helps to show things like time of day, time of year, temperature around the characters, etc. These things don’t do much to the world building, they don’t tell much about the world, but do make the time spent reading more immersive and relateable.
So that is what I mean when I say setting, are supportive details any different? Kinda. Supporting details, are things like expressions, clothing, and things within the setting. So in that way yes they are basically the same. But supporting details can also include moods, mentioning of past events in case a reader didn’t read the book before, and references to events that took place off “screen”.
Ok, you explained what your talking about, but why should I care about these? They don’t sound important to the story or the plot.
Glad you brought that up. I mentioned before that it helps make your story more relatable and immersive, but that is not all. What dose it mean when you say a story is immersive anyway? Well a simple expression for it is “you get lost in the story”, or in other words you loose track of the real world around you and your mind puts you completely in the world of the book/story.
Relatable on the other hand, helps a story be immersive. You bring up things the reader has likely experienced. Simple things like being cold, anxiety, being unsure, clothes not matching or making sense on another person, etc.
If your story is immersive it will flow much better and you will have tapped into what I refer to as “the magic of a good story”. This magic is what captures the imagination of the reader, makes them loose themselves in your story. When you have tapped into this magic that is exclusive to story telling people are far quicker to praise your writing. They will tell your friends about the story, those friends might check it out, and suddenly you could have a best seller, or even just sales in the first place haha.
That magic is hard to cast, and takes a lot of practice. Not everyone can use it to its full effectiveness either, but everyone from a small fish like myself to JK Rolling herself could use with continued practice in tapping into this magic. I call it magic because while we do know what it is, and have a good idea how it works, no one really understands it yet. Stories have always had this quality, even if we go back to the verbal story telling around a campfire on the edge of a cave.
Bards, musicians, authors, public speakers, and teachers all try to use this elusive magical quality to be able to get the message into the minds of their audience. It’s importance cannot be understated, and effective use of both setting and supporting details will help you tap into this mysterious and amazing ability.
That’s all I’ve got for you all this week. Until next time, may God bless you and keep you.