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: