By Cait Collins
When setting the location for your story, what do you look for? Do you choose an actual place or is it from your imagination? What draws you to the city or town? Where is it located? If the location is in the United States, which state are you considering? Are you familiar with the city or town and the state? What’s the population? Who are the biggest employers? Is there a college or university in the area? Is there a historic district? Did any major, historic event occur in the area? Describe Main Street. Where are the popular hang outs: a bar, a diner, the library? Is there a well-known landmark? What is the major building material: wood, brick, native stone?
Are the locals affluent, middle class, under privileged, or a mixture of all classes? What are the major ethnic backgrounds? Describe your antagonist, protagonist, and major supporting character’s homes. Where’s the best place to buy an ice cream sundae?
Does it matter if your setting is real or from your imagination? Not really because all of this information, and more, is necessary to build the setting for the story. While the location is essential to the work, it should not take over the tale.