May 5 – Setting

First: a little Day 5 pep talk. If you’re finding it hard to write every day; if you’ve missed a day; if you’ve just found us and are wondering if it’s too late to join; if you’ve been here since April and and wondering if it’s time to quit…To all of you I say “don’t worry, just keep turning up. From today until May 31,  just sit down, think up interesting characters, give them annoying problems, and write as much as you can. If you miss a day (I mostly don’t write on Sundays, so I’m not going to be doing 31 stories this May), just accept it and move forward. Deal? OK, on with the writing prompt!

Setting can be as potent as an extra character in your story. It can affect every aspect of the story from the way people talk and dress, to the imagery and metaphors that you choose.

The Prompt

Write A Story With A Strong Sense of Place


  • “Setting” can be a place, a time or a culture.
  • Don’t tell us about the setting. Weave details into the story to strengthen the tone, mood, or the actions of the characters.
  • For example, if your setting is in a pre-industrial culture, your landscape might contain things like hitching posts for horses, small vegetable gardens at every home, rutted cart tracks, coppices of trees, wells etc. Mention them by having your characters use them while they’re talking/thinking about other things.
  • Think about how your setting affects your choice of words: if your setting is bucolic, perhaps your language will be more flowery than if you were telling a story set in a sterile, scientific setting.
  • Think about how setting can affect the mental state of characters. Do they get more jittery or more energized if it’s loud? How about if it’s dark? Quiet? Cluttered? Enclosed? Wide open?


Post a comment at the blog to let us know you’ve written today, or join the community and post in the Victory Dance Group.

6 thoughts on “May 5 – Setting”

  1. I always love doing SETTING, just as some people love Dialogue or Characterization. 🙂

    Thanks for your inspiring words, Julie. Because I’m getting a late start, so I fit into one of your categories above Thank you for being so knowledgeable and giving us lots to think and write about.

  2. I don’t know that I got the real gist of this prompt, but I was completely drawing a blank, and may have actually unconsciously done it in last night’s post, but I couldn’t use it over, so I came up with something maybe kin to describing the setting from my own pov with regard to watching something happen. Can’t say it worked.

  3. This is clearly a skill to practice and hone.
    I found I kept drifting to describing the view! (‘Slowly, windsurfers drifted across the bay‘ etc!). But as the piece wore on, I think I was getting the hang more of involving the characters in their experience to draw out the scenery, rather than simply being descriptive.
    Good learning!

    1. Another thing that’s fun is using the landscape to reflect the character’s moods. What they see is affected by their mood, so that’s the way the reader should see it too…

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