Setting, in my opinion at least, is one of the most fun parts of writing a story! I didn't understand this when I first started writing. Most of what I wrote was set it some random town that could have been anywhere in America, and probably anywhere in a western country, for that matter. When I went to my first ACFW conference, waaaaay back in 2005 when I was a sophomore in college, I went to a class about setting that was taught by Colleen Coble and some other writers. She said that your setting should be SO integral to your story that you shouldn't be able to change settings without your story falling apart.
Okay, that's a really extreme view of setting. Not everyone thinks that's right. I tend to lean that way for things I write, because it helps me. This is just my friendly disclaimer saying it doesn't HAVE to be that way. =)
So. Setting. Think about it and how it adds to your story. You can use the setting to say so much, to set the mood, almost to be its own character in some situations.
Here's your writing prompt for the weekend. Look at the following setting/genre pairings and think about how you'd write a story with them. Or, for bonus points (haha, bonus points on what I'm not sure...lol) actually write a few paragraphs, maybe the opening ones, for a story using them. They don't GO together per se...It's easier to set a horror story in a dark, creepy haunted house at night on Friday the 13th, but sometimes it's fun to play with opposite settings and see how even THIS can impact your story and make it even stronger. Make sense? Whether your setting makes sense or not, I guess is what I'm saying, it should be INTENTIONAL and it should contribute to what you're doing in your story in some way, even if that's to create a contrast to the events of your story.
Ready? Here you go!
A FAIR (Think bright lights, happy colors, cotton candy, and giggling children). Use this setting for heavy, issue-y women's fiction.
A GARDEN (Think of a city park or something. Peaceful, serene, full of flowers. Maybe there's a river flowing through it an an artist painting something in a corner). Use this setting for romantic suspense or straight-up suspense.
A HOSPITAL WAITING ROOM (Think stark white, blue vinyl chairs, people crying. Lots of tissues.) Use this setting for romance or chick-lit, whichever floats your boat because chick-lit Is. Not. Dead. At least not to me. ;)
So think about it! And if you're feeling inspired and brave, post the opening paragraph for each of these! =)