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All genres need to create an inviting world so that readers want to spend time there.

The context of the book and elements of the setting are anchor points that keep the conflict and character together.

Think about how your setting can add layers of depth to your story. You are trying to create an idea or feeling that your setting pre-dates your story.


Audio From Kim Wilkins – Creating An Inviting World


Listen or download the audio below for this week’s lesson about how to develop and represent your fictional world.

Don’t forget to download the audio notes below too (available in PDF format) before you listen to this week’s lesson so you can take notes.



PDF (right click and ‘Save As’): Audio Notes – Lesson 8 – Creating An Inviting World


How to develop your world:

  • Research
    • Visual – documentaries, movies, pictures, paintings, photos.
    • Written – lonely planet travel guides, period novels.
    • Personal sources – ask people
  • Fantasy
    • Base it on what’s real or already out there.
  • Map out your world
  • Sensory maps


How to represent your world

  • A rich engaging setting relies on little details, the most evocative detail that sparks the reader’s imagination.
  • Keep the reader and their needs and wants and desires in mind
  • Integrate the details carefully. Avoid starting scenes with descriptions with action in front of it.
  • To start a scene try this;
    • A few orienting details.
    • A few choice details to anchor to the world.

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red avatar 5EXERCISE:  Creating A Haunted House

In groups of 4 or 5, create a haunted house on the Haunted House Forum.



With your group, you enter a gloomy, crumbling Georgian mansion (yes, you might have to do some research) on a hilltop off a muddy road. It’s stormy and, of course, your mini-van broke down two miles down the road. You’ve stopped to ask for help, but there’s nobody here, although the door is open. You decide to spread out and take a room each to look for the house’s owner.

In a forum post, write down a list of dot-points about your particular room (they must be different!) under the headings of;

  • sight
  • sound
  • smell
  • taste
  • touch

Don’t forget to list what you can see out the windows. You are also probably dripping wet.

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red avatar 5EXERCISE:  Your Opening Paragraphs

It’s time to commit something to writing.

Post the first couple of paragraphs of your story (no more than 200 words) to the Opening Paragraphs Forum so others can read it. Pay due attention to getting across the feel of the setting, without overwhelming the story.

In response read and post a comment about at least three other posts.

Click here to return to the YONline home page.

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