Nurture Your Setting – a quick tip

I’ve been reading The Shining by Steven King. The Overlook Hotel is a magical place of death, suffering and horny lady ghosts. King infused solid character into his setting by giving it a rich history and imposing stature. It has dimensions, a personality and intent (getting it’s hosts drunk and highly suggestable, which gets awkward pretty quick). It has a gothic character reminiscent of Poe’s years. I had no trouble constructing King’s hotel in my imagination and it made the story all the more real. And that got me thinking…

I started working on an idea that tricked me and ran away to become a horror story. I meant for it to be a love mystery but what’s love without a little gore? Ha! Am I right? or am I right? No? Okay, moving on…
Anyways, after reading The Shining and absorbing all of the Hotel’s itching horror, I realized something: my character’s were screaming their heads in a flat, boring setting. I put a lot of time into the personalities of my characters only to have them acting on a stage with only a few recycled props. Leave it to Stephen King to show me how much work I still need to do.
So, don’t forget that your settings need just as much development as your characters. You want the setting and characters to interact with each other somehow, like we naturally do with our own environment. Give your setting some history and personality. It’ll make your story all the more gripping.

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