World-building: Settings for all Genres – Guest Post by, Diana Peach… at Chris The Story Reading Ape’s Blog

Reblogged from  The Story Reading Ape:


As a fantasy/science-fiction writer, I’ve stacked up a bit of experience with world-building that I’ve wanted to share, and The Story-Reading Ape’s blog is the perfect venue.

Now don’t run away if you don’t write speculative fiction. Clearly, world-building is a key part of bringing fantasy and science-fiction stories to life, but it plays a role in all fiction, and in some non-fiction as well.

Setting as Character

Most of us probably agree that the physical places within our stories need to feel authentic. But if we create them as mere backdrops to the action, we’re missing an opportunity to enrich our readers’ experiences. In great fiction, setting plays a role in the story. It’s changeable, a help, a hindrance, a metaphor, a mood, possibly even a character in the drama.

Fantasy author Brandon Sanderson is a proponent of the idea of setting-as-character and builds a “character profile” of the world he’s designing. From his character’s point of view, the world has “personality” including strengths, flaws, and quirks.

Regardless of your genre, the world in which your characters live shapes their experiences. Selecting an effective setting is as vital as choosing the right players and plot. The world might be a friend or foe to your protagonists and villains alike as they navigate a dynamic environment.

The setting of a book may rejuvenate or deplete, trigger buried flaws or instill hope. It may force the characters to learn new skills or gather greater knowledge, or it may confront old fears and force choices that break the heart and soul. It may assist your hero in evading a villain or trap him with no way out. The impact of a world may be physical, emotional, psychological, or spiritual.

In choosing a setting, consider how your plot may play out as you increase the challenges the world imposes. How does the conflict unfold in a sweltering city or on a damaged ship at sea, stranded in a mountain snowstorm or stuck living with controlling parents, in high society or in the trenches of war? What if time/fuel/medication/food/oxygen is running out?

If a scene is falling flat, intensify your setting to up the ante.

But that’s not the only way to bring a setting to life nor the most important.

Setting is Emotional

More important than the “facts” of the physical setting is the character’s emotional connection. A setting truly comes to life when it’s infused with meaning, when we as authors connect the character’s emotions to the details of the physical place and all they evoke.

Continue reading: World-building: Settings for all Genres – Guest Post by, Diana Peach… | Chris The Story Reading Ape’s Blog

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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12 Responses to World-building: Settings for all Genres – Guest Post by, Diana Peach… at Chris The Story Reading Ape’s Blog

  1. Many thanks for reblogging, Sue ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mr. Militant Negro says:

    Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks for the reblog, Sue. It was fun guest posting on the Ape’s blog and lovely to show up here too. Have a great week. 🙂


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