A Writer’s How-To: Memorable Settings

I find the easiest way to create a memorable setting is to make it unique. If your story is set in the mountains, give the mountains a cool name with some weird creatures living in it. If the story is set in space, make the spaceship feel like home and add some quirks to it. (After all, we all have that ONE FREAKING FLOORBOARD that creeks like some horror story bad guy is coming to kill you in the middle of the night.) If your story is a romance, make the setting cozy by adding in something that means the world to the main character or something that brings up some unfinished memories.

If you give the setting something specific, something unique to itself, some defining character, readers will remember it better. (It’s the same with making memorable characters!)

Three of my favorite settings are, in no particular order: Hogwarts, because of the ghosts and the moving staircase and trick doors; Serenity, because even though it fell apart ALL THE TIME it became a home and sanctuary to the crew; the Arenas in the first and second Hunger Games books, because it seriously messed with the tributes in unique and challenging ways.

Why do I like them most? They all offered something unexpected and added dimensions to the story, as well as pushed the story along. Doing so with your settings will help your readers remember them!

Readers: what are your favorite settings and why?
Writers: what are some ways you make your settings believable?

Happy Friday, and until next time!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Writing – LGBT

My quest to challenge myself by writing is a never-ending one. And it came to no surprise to me that it would eventually take me to write LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender) work, though it did come as a shock to others. But we’ll get to that later.

I’ve written a lot of stuff – not all of it good, I might add. I once created a volcanic pit that held green lava, yes, that’s green, not red. I still might use it. – and I pride myself in trying new genres and new characters. My staple has always been horror. The sheer terror is infused in my blood. Odd, I know. Crazy, if you’ve ever met me. (I’m the quiet soft-spoken one.) I forced myself to branch out of the horror genre, to try different things. I landed on fantasy and stayed there for a little while – tinkering around with swords and magic – then went on to science fiction and have lingered there ever since. I’ve written romance before. I’ve written fanfiction as well. I’ve written poetry that spans every genre – yes, including horror and fanfiction – and tried my hand at article writing and interviewing.

I always wrote straight characters though. It just happened that way, no real reason.

But, because of that, I had yet to explore writing LGBT style. Until I met Mia. Mia is one of my characters. She’s the main character in my science fiction series. I thought her up while writing a short story for my college creative writing group. She was cool. Calm, confident and a spaceship captain to boot! I hadn’t discovered that she liked women, though. I didn’t know it until she met another woman in my sci-fi adventure, a woman who would change her life forever. Hence my sci-fi adventure and my first foray into that writing style.

I wanted to try writing LGBT because it was different.
I wanted to try writing LGBT because it was challenging.
But mostly I wanted to try writing LGBT because I’m part of that community.
I’m bi. Yes, I like both guys and girls. It’s an equal opportunity thing (as my sister put it).

The thing is, I hadn’t tried that style of writing. I hadn’t pushed myself to write a different way.

And the wonderful thing about trying out a new style?

I ended up loving it! (If not, writing my sci-fi series would be really really difficult!)

Now, normally I try out different styles in short stories, not series. For example, my next trial will be a Western short. This one will be difficult since I don’t really read Westerns. I did, however, take a Western-themed movie class in college where I got to compare Star Wars and Serenity as examples of ‘off-western’ Western movies (and got credit) though, so I’ll probably be pulling from the classics, John Wayne style.

Wish me luck, it’ll be an adventure…

I hope you have a lovely weekend!
Warm regards,
Kellie