Whether you love writing settings or not, they're often an integral part of your story. Even if they're in the background, employing certain steps and a little extra attention can give your settings a realistic quality and make them come to life for a reader.
Historical sites and landmarks
You can use this tip whether your setting is fictional or real. Try adding certain landmarks or historical sites readers could relate to throughout the story. If it's a big city, try mentioning a specific bridge or building people would know about. For small towns, you can mention a larger city nearby to give a reader context, or mention a lake or river or something historical that happened nearby.
Again, fictional or real, this brings a story to life. Mentioning the weather in some scenes, and being accurate about the kinds of weather (snow, dry, humidity, etc.) will help readers feel more like your setting is real.
Using real or made up names of streets or stores or lakes or rivers drops your reader right there in the setting. What's more real than a very specific place?
Give the place a tone
Help your readers understand the feel of the setting. Does it have a small-town atmosphere, or a laid-back atmosphere? Adding in certain elements, like the architecture of the buildings or the types of people walking around and what they're wearing or doing (like waving hello or just walking on by with the rest of a large crowd) will show the reader the kind of place you're writing about.
Sometimes it only takes small things to help your reader feel like they're there in the story. Mention window boxes with a specific flower in house windows, or that flag in front of the library. Talk about that gazebo in the middle of the lake or the cobblestone streets your character is walking on. Something tangible and relatable for the reader.
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