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I hope everyone is either having (or had) a happy Spring Break!

I had the opportunity to go snorkeling this week. If you’ve never snorkeled, basically you float on top of the ocean and stare down into a completely other world. Everything about it is different than what you hear or see above the surface of the water – the light, the sounds, the colors, the life-forms which got me thinking about settings in stories.

In some stories, the setting is part of the story, and even serves as a character in the story. Hogwarts is an example of this. In other stories, the setting is merely a backdrop for the action. There might be important elements but it is not a character in the story. Forks, Washington in the Twilight series is an example of this. The fact that the sun rarely shines is important to the plot, but the town doesn’t play much into the story other than the fact that it rains, so the main characters can go outside without blinding everyone with their sparkliness.

Underneath the ocean, the setting is a “character.” It is part of the all of the action. As I think of some of my favorite novels, that setting is part of the action. The story couldn’t take place anywhere else.

Think of your current story. Is the setting the backdrop for the action or is it an integral part of the story? How can you make it an integral part of the story?

In the comments below, I’d love it if you shared the novels or stories that have your favorite settings in them. What are they?