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When looking at a picture and thinking about that particular place in terms of setting, I like images that are striking, that evoke emotion or set a particular mood. When revealing where a scene is taking place, it’s often more powerful to do so through the character’s other senses, rather than merely running through a descriptive list of what is visually present.
For me, a picture often sparks ideas for how to describe those little sensory details, such as how a character can feel the slick brick sidewalk beneath his feet as he walks the city streets and tries to deal with the disaster his life has become, how she can hear the slow trickling of water that transfixes her as she nears the stream situated beside her childhood home, how he can feel the worn, smooth leather beneath his palms on the couch where he had his first kiss years earlier.
I like taking such sensory details and matching them to what the character is feeling and the mood of the scene. Visuals can go a long way in helping me discover those details.
Here are a few of my recent Setting Inspiration Finds:
A few more of my recent setting finds. Not sure when or for what project I’ll use them, but they sure are great shots.
Here are some of my recent setting inspiration finds that I’m saving for future projects:
Whenever I write a scene, I picture the setting in my mind, whether it’s a room or an outdoor wilderness locale or a bustling city street, with as much detail as possible. Then I describe one or two specific, concrete elements to give the reader a sense of the place, which is often more effective than describing every detail.
Usually I can imagine that setting clearly in my mind, especially if it’s a character’s home or another important place for them. Other times I like to use a real place that I’ve visited as inspiration. When that isn’t possible, I’ll use a stock photography site to gather images. I might describe the setting the way I see it in the photo, or that picture might spark my imagination to go in a completely different direction. If the photos I find seem like a great setting idea but don’t match my current project, I’ll save them for later use.
Here are some of my recent inspiration finds for settings: