Create your dream world
… with a Setting Sketch for each location.
In the same way as a scriptwriter sets the scene for a film, a novelist needs to invent a dream world for the cast of characters to inhabit.
The choice for each dream world setting within the world of your novel is entirely yours.
- You could stick close to home using familiar locations.
- Distant lands could give you the excuse to travel for research purposes.
- Or, you could invent a world set in the future and/or outer space.
Whatever you decide, I recommend you make notes in the run up to NaNoWriMo, so that you are totally immersed in that world on 1 November as you write your opening scene.
Creating a new Setting Sketch for Helen’s dream home
Creating a new Setting sketch is done in the same way as creating a Character Sketch, except you want it in the Places folder.
Right click on the Places folder and select Add / New From Template / Setting Sketch.
Scrivener’s Setting Sketch template
Scrivener’s Setting Sketch template provides these headings to prompt you to describe your location.
- Role in Story
- Related Characters
- Unique Features
These headings are recommendations only.
Creating your own Location Template
If this list doesn’t suit you, you can create your own Setting Sketch template. It’s done in the same way as setting up your own Character Sketch template (see this post), except it’s the default Setting Sketch document that you’ll duplicate and amend to suit.
Maybe you’ve been on a creative writing course and you prefer a much more detailed version, and/or you’ve read several books on world building, and would like to devise your own list.
For example, under ‘Description’ you might add:
- Building type
- Who lives/works here
For ‘Sights’, you might have subheadings:
- View of front as you arrive
- From downstairs front
- View from upstairs back
The locations in my Dead Wood novel
So, far – it’s early days! – I have identified four locations:
- Helen’s dream home
- The home of her next door neighbour, Nicola
- The Green Acres Golf Club, where Helen’s second husband, Paul, spends most of his time
- The Waterside holiday retreat which Helen visits for a weekend
One fun thing to do when setting a location is to search the Internet for suitable homes for your characters.
Look what I chose for Helen as her dream home
In searching for where Helen might want to call ‘home’ for the duration of this novel, I became aware that she was not happy, wherever she was. Digging deeper, it occurred to me that she’d compromised with Paul and that he’d chosen where they would live.
So, I found myself playing the part of Paul, like in one of those TV programs where a couple are shown around several homes. I could see what he liked in the properties, and what she didn’t like.
I ‘plumped’ for this beautiful barn conversion. It suits him, but not her!
I have noted the interior space, so when Helen has a conversation with anyone else, say, in the kitchen, I can picture it. I can also see her planting up the borders with highly scented plants.
That ‘inspiration’ came from completing the entries in the default template for Places provided by Scrivener.
Adding location details as they occur to you
My story centres on Helen’s weekend retreat at a location I have yet to discover!
However, I do know she will be able to see the sea from this retreat – something that is missing from the home she shares with Paul.
For your novel, note any details like these. Then, when you get a minute, you might start researching. I’ll explain how to collect research materials within your Scrivener project file in a subsequent blogpost …
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