Practice Creating Strong Story Settings with Visual Writing Prompts


Setting plays a big part in any novel or short story.

And the best way to create a strong sense of setting is to "show" your readers where your characters are living out your story.

But how do you do this?

Well, it takes practice.

Generally, you will want to weave in details about your setting within the dialogue and action provided by your characters rather than include paragraph after paragraph of description.

To do this, you'll want to use strong sensory details that bring your setting—and your entire story—to life.

Here's a way to practice creating a strong setting.

Use each of these photos, below, as visual writing prompts and describe each setting using a variety of sensory details.

In other words, describe how each scene looks, the sounds you would hear there, the smells you would smell, what things you could feel there, and even the tastes you might experience there.

It might feel awkward at first to include details for each of the five senses, but, if you keep practicing this, it will get easier.






After you've created sensory details for each of the above photos (or settings), now create some characters to live in each setting.

Next, have these characters interact through dialogue.

Also, have them take action and move through the setting for some reason important to your storyline.

If nothing else, this little exercise should help you see and understand the importance of sensory details in setting.

Try it!


Suzanne Lieurance is a full time freelance writer, the author of 35 published books (at last count) and a writing coach.

She lives and writes by the sea in Jensen Beach, Florida.

Learn more about her books and her coaching services at www.writebythesea.com and sign up for her free email, The Morning Nudge, with tips and resources for writers delivered to your mailbox every weekday morning.

3 comments:

  1. This is a great tip. I look for images and add them to Scrivener to use as visual aides.

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  2. Suzanne, this is a great tip. I did this with my middle grade fantasy set in 16th century China. I have a folder in my computer labeled Scenery. It's a great tool.

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  3. Great post Suzanne. Using visual writing prompts is a fabulous practice that I want more of. Thanks for the boost!

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