DraconicArcania Hideout

Draconic 101: Lesson Two: Setting

Again, let us begin with a question. Because...I. Like. Questions.
What is a setting?
A setting is where your story, roleplay, plot, quest, whatever you call it, takes place! It is the heart and soul of your story, second only to the importance of well-developed, well-rounded characters to dwell within said settings.

Part One: Creating Your Setting

There are many, many, many things to consider when you're creating a setting. This part will simply tip you off as to how to make a good setting. Blow is a list of things to consider when creating your setting.

  • When is it? Time period is a very important aspect of a setting. For example, if you were in a medieval setting, you wouldn't see spaceships. If you were in a Western setting, you would see bandits and cowboys, not jets or knights in shining armor!
  • Who is in it? Hey, if you're up for messing with the settings, go for it! I'm fine with it. Just be consistent. Take into consideration who will be in this setting you have made.
  • What type of environment is it? When making a setting, environment is important as well. If you were in the desert, you wouldn't see a bunch of lakes and oceans. Likewise, if you were in the middle of the ocean, you wouldn't see buses or cars. Be logical.
  • Were is it? I know, redundant, but this is important! Know where it is. Is your setting Earth? Your setting can be wherever you desire, whether it's a tricked-out Earth or some far-off, distant galaxy. 
Next you need to consider this... How will I present my setting? Well, it's your writing. You can use whatever style you desire! However, in both roleplay and writing, your setting is important. Make sure you make it clear where they are, or your readers may get confused. Consider this...which of these two following excerpts from the top of Dragon's head sounds better? It's opinion, but one will most likely attract more people and sound nicer, even if it is stuffed with purple prose, it's nicely placed, right? So, onto the question...which sounds better?

"Billy Bob Joe walked into a bar."
"Billy Bob Joe walked into a well-furnished, luxurious bar. The tables were made of finely polished oak which matched the floorboards, and the wall was made of shining cherry which matched the accenting bar. The barstools were of high-quality, comfortable leather, stuffed with down feathers, and the counter top was made of brilliant granite. This is a great place to eat! thought Billy Bob Joe."

Hey, it's personal preference, just keep in mind...unless you're only writing for your amusement, then someone else is going to read what you wrote eventually. And which of these two would be more likely to catch a reader's eye? The less descriptive work, or the work which is nicely detailed. However, my tip to you is to not explain absolutely everything. Not only will it kill you, but it will bore your readers. It's nice to let your readers imagine at least a little bit of what they read.