What time period is it set in?
What region of that world?
With When Life Hands You Lymes I knew I wanted it to be in modern times and in the USA. As for a state? I’m not totally set on that yet, but I’ve been thinking Ohio, Kentucky or Tennessee.
With my WIP that I’ve taken a break on, TGS (I’m not reveling the title just yet), I knew I had to create my own country because of the government system I needed for the plot. I also knew I wanted it to be in a time period like the Medieval Ages and have a country where mountains, forests and the ocean were all part of the landscape. Hence I created the country of Pyria.
For my Creation Quest books, the main character, Lydia, has a life that closely resembles mine when I’m on the road with my adopted parents. Therefore even though the character lives in Ohio on a farm part time and in Kentucky at the Creation Museum part of the time, most of her adventures take place on the road. So, pretty much each book has a new setting.
After you figure out where as in the huge, general where, there are tons of smaller steps to work out.
City? Country? Village? Farm? Island?
North? South? East? West?
Does it have two seasons? Four seasons? No seasons?
The Emerson family lives far enough away from a big city to give their town a ‘small-town feeling’ and yet close enough for easy commuting.
The main characters in TGS live right in the heart of the capital city of Pyria, up on a hill where they can look down and see for a long way.
The Davis’ live part time on a farm, part time at a museum and travel all of the world.
Then of course you have to figure out what kind of dwelling they live in. For me, this is probably the most fun and easiest of all the setting questions. I like to stretch my imagination with this one. Growing up in the hay loft of a barn gave me a love for unique settings.
The character can live in a house. Or barn, or castle, or palace, or church, or tipi, or houseboat, or log cabin, or hut, or store, or museum, or truck, or office building, or RV, or windmill, or cave, or tree house, or mobile home, or tunnel. Pretty much, this option is open-ended and so, so fun to come up with! I actually often get story ideas that start out with where the character lives, as in the type of dwelling, before any other aspect of the story arrives in my brain.
From the stories we’ve been discussing, Madalyn’s family lives in a huge mansion, Lydia’s family lives in a 150 year old log cabin and RV and Nicolette and Raquel live in a palace.
There are so many more questions that you have to figure out when it comes to creating the perfect setting for a book, but these are some of the big ones that I try and figure out first.
What about you? What do you think would be an interesting setting for a book?