Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Ten Tools for Crafting A 3-D Setting

Recent negative press about social media and the internet aside (with some foundation for concern), there has never been a better time or place for writers to meet, to share, and to help other writers.

There are many wonderful resources you can utilize to bring your story setting to life, from thesauruses, to blogs, to classes.

Here is a short list.

1. The Story Building Blocks Build A World Workbook approaches the many layers of worldbuilding through a series of questions, with places to take notes and add images. Available in print and e-book.

2. Writers Helping Writers has a series of thesauruses (settings, emotions, traits) among the prolific number of helpful books, articles, and free advice.

3. The Writing World website has many resources on all aspects of writing, including their article on Four Ways to Bring Settings to Life.

4. SciFiIdeas.com has a 25 Different Sci-Fi Settings list.

5. 101 Writers’ Scene Settings: Unique Location Ideas & Sensory Details for Writers to Create Vivid Scene Settings (Writers' Resource Series Book 3)Mar 16, 2016 by Paula Wynne

6. Creative Writing: The Craft of Setting and Description Course by Weslyan University: In this course aspiring writers are introduced to techniques that masters of fiction use to ground a story in a concrete world.  From the most realist settings to the most fantastical, writers will learn how to describe the physical world in sharp, sensory detail.  You will also learn how to build credibility through research, and to use creative meditation exercises to deepen our own understanding of our story worlds, so that our readers can see all that we imagine.

7. Writers Digest University: Description and Setting: You’ll learn the elements on how to write setting and description from Ron Rozelle’s Write Great Fiction: Description & Setting. This book explains how description can bring a story to life and includes examples from well-known pieces of fiction. Master the basics of fiction writing and create believable people, places and events through setting and description! There is no instructor for this workshop. You will not receive feedback on assignments. You may review the lessons and exercises on your own schedule.

8. Professional Writing Academy: Fiction Skills - Setting: Well described settings bring invaluable atmosphere to any story — and when you create an effective sense of place, it can feel as though another character has been added to the narrative. This four-week online course, run by our partners at Faber Academy, guides you through key techniques for building convincing story worlds, and explores how different writers use location to bring their characters and stories alive.

9. Writers Digest University: Worldbuilding in Science Fiction and Fantasy course.

10. Springhole.net features Location and Setting Generator tools. These look really fun for times when you are stuck for a setting or just want to spin the wheel and see what happens.

These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to resources (free and at cost) available to writers on the world wide web. I believe you can use any tool for good or ill. The internet is just another vast cache of tools. You can use them to learn and grow or just watch cute kittens.

Diana Hurwitz is the author of Story Building Blocks: The Four Layers of Conflict, Story Building Blocks II: Crafting Believable Conflict, Story Building Blocks III: The Revision Layers, and the YA adventure series Mythikas Island. Her weekly blog, Game On: Crafting Believable Conflict explores how characters behave and misbehave. Visit DianaHurwitz.com for more information and free writing tools. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. This is a valuable list of go-to resources that I can use to enhance the effectiveness of place in my readers' minds as they step into the story to accompany the characters on their journeys. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Setting is almost a character in my mind, so the more we know about creating vivid images of place, the better.

  3. Thanks for this list of helpful resources for writers. I will have to check them out to see how I can make setting more vivid in my books


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