Ready on the set! Wait! Wait! Not that kind of set . . . Setting–

4. Explore your settings.

Whether your setting is your childhood neighborhood or the seventh moon of Barsoom, you’ll want to enter your first draft with a firm idea of where your prominent scenes will be taking place.

Don’t choose a setting just because it sounds cool or because you’re familiar with it. Look for settings that will be inherent to your plot. Can you change your story’s primary locale without any significant alterations to the plot? If so, dig a little deeper to find a setting better suited to your plot, theme and characters.

Based on the scenes you’re already aware of, list the settings you think you’ll need. Can you reduce this list by combining or eliminating settings? Nothing wrong with a sprawling story locale, but extraneous settings should be eliminated just as assiduously as unnecessary characters.

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