Writing and the Role of Setting

Episode #21 – January 23, 2024

Welcome to episode 21 of the Writing on Caffeine podcast. My daughter (Ragan Franzone) and I (Jonathan Franzone) are a father and daughter who have decided to write our very first novel. In this podcast, we are inviting you to come along on this journey with us.

In this episode, Jonathan and Ragan talk about the role of the setting in fiction writing. What makes a good setting? What is the difference between a setting and a scene or world-building?

Don’t forget to ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!

What is Setting?

In storytelling, there is setting, backdrop, and world-building.

So what’s the difference?

  • World-building: all-encompassing
    • J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth
  • Backdrop: just a passive, contextual stage
    • “the city,” “the mountains,” “the forest,” etc.
  • Setting: an immediate time, place, and atmosphere
    • The moors in the Hound of the Baskervilles

Setting Can Become Its Own Character

  • Influences the plot
  • Evokes emotion
  • Shapes character development
  • Symbolism
  • Dynamic and changing

Some Examples

  • Harry Potter
    • Hogwarts
    • The Dursley House
    • The Weasley House
  • Hunger Games
  • The Way of Kings
    • The Shattered Plains
  • Dune – Arrakis
  • Paralandra (C.S. Lewis)
  • Pandora (Avatar – “the blue people”)
  • The Phantom of the Opera – the Opera House
  • The Shining – The Overlook Hotel


Books We’re Reading