I now live in Salt Lake City. It’s where I grew up and it’s all very nice, however, I’m reluctant to switch my location status from Chicago. I admit, I held some pride that I lived in a big city and I’m struggling to let that go. Plus I miss it. Give me a week or two.
But let’s look on the bright side. My move has given me cause to reflect on how important setting is. Because my own setting has recently changed, I’m hyper-aware of how intricately connected setting is with character. We are, for the most part, products of our surroundings. We soak in what we see, hear, and experience and those things are what we become. When those things are changed, we change too. So if you like who you are, stay where you are. If you want to change, then move. If you don’t know what you want then go sky-diving.
I’m having an identity crisis here, can you tell?
Setting itself can be thought of, not just as a stagnant place where characters can play out a scene, but as a character itself, ever evolving and affecting the characters, shaping their choices. Hogwarts Castle is constantly creating problems and solutions for the students. The moving staircases, the Womping Willow, the secret rooms and passageways. And if you don’t have a magical world there’s always the weather. Nothing shakes things up like Mother Nature!
So I’m curious to know how you develop your worlds or settings? Are you conscious of it at all or do you let it develop naturally, subconsciously even, with your story?