I never knew how hard it was to stay on top of this blog during the holidays. To be frank, I didn’t even look at my laptop all week. But, it is almost a new year, and it is time to create some good habits.

Do you have any New Years resolutions yet?

Mine are to write more: potentially finish the first draft of a novel, to film Survive (the zombie survival mini series), and to try and sweat less over the small things. Seems like a lot, doesn’t it? Think I can do it?

As a not-so-creative transition, I started reading the Game of Thrones series. I’m only a good six years behind, right? At least, if going off just the HBO series. I guess that’s what the college life has done to me. However, you know what I really loved about the first book? The setting and world building Martin is able to accomplished without it being overbearing.

Here we are again, staying away from the special effects makeup for another day, and talking about the writing process. Now, I always say that characters are the most important, but setting is probably second in line.

Going back to the beginning, what is setting? It is not just place (town, inside, outside, ect.) but it is everything in the story or script. Everything the character interactions with (besides other characters.) All of the senses are important when creating a good setting: sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell. What do people mainly focus on when starting out the writing process? Sight. I’m guilty of this too. It can be considered the crutch sense, because it is the easiest to relate back towards a character.

So, let’s try something.

A character stands in the bathroom- no, it’s not the start of a bad joke, it is a building exercise. The first thing we ask is “what do they see?” But we all can guess what a bathroom looks like, we’ve all visited countless bathrooms. Here are some other questions to ask:

  • Is there a smell? (Does it smell like urine? Air freshener? Mildew?)
  • Are there sounds? (a dripping faucet? A toilet tank that is filling? Is your character wearing heels on the tile? Can a conversation be heard through the walls?)
  • What can you touch in a bathroom? (Is it warm or cold? What is the sink feel like? Is it clean or grimy?)
  • Why would there be a taste in a bathroom? (Has your character been drinking? Are they chewing gum? Is the smell so strong that they can taste it?)

This is just a small example. Most scenes aren’t going to take place in a bathroom, but the method is the same. It can be used to any room in the house, outside in a forest, even in a different world/universe.

Give it a try! Use all those senses next time you write a scene. Suddenly your setting will feel a lot more interactive and tangible than something on a TV screen.