One of the things that’s hardest for me is getting my characters grounded in a setting. I know they’re in the kitchen of an old farmhouse, but how do I get that point across to the reader without a detailed account of the kitchen utensils?
I’ve noticed in a few contest entries, that I’m scratching my head, going back and rereading, and all in order to try and figure out where the characters are. Once I have to go back, I’m pulled out of the story, and no author wants to give their reader a reason to stop reading.
It would be nice and neat if we could envision a picture like above and know exactly what the characters are doing and where, but it isn’t always that simple. Settings can be in a place the reader has never been, or in a situation that makes the setting feel foreign.
My comfort zone wants to return again and again to a favorite place. Then I know where I’m at, but does it move the story forward or feel like déjà vu? Unless, of course, there is a particular importance for a certain setting to repeat itself.
How do you decide where you’ll take your reader, outside of the obvious settings that determine your genre. What makes you pick a porch swing over a cozy kitchen? A picnic over a formal restaurant? How and why do you make those relationships important to your story?