What is your favorite setting for a novel?

Happy Friday, SEers. You’re with Mae today as I trot out the Story Empire Friday Question post:

What is your favorite setting for a novel?

That special “something” that sucks you in like no other element. As an example, my favorite settings cover a broad realm. I’m especially fond of  small towns, coastal settings, old creepy homes, Victorian London, and the late 1800s (yes, I’m going to count time periods, too). But there is one setting I find almost impossible to resist.

Build a novel around a carnival and it’s almost certain I will buy the book.

white carnival horse on a lighted merry-go-round

I’ve been in love with carnival settings (especially mysterious ones) since reading Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes as a teenager. As an adult, I still love going to a carnival, fair, or May Day celebration—all things that take me back to the magical whimsy of childhood.

What is your favorite setting? Even fans of fantasy and science fiction have elements they enjoy above others. A creepy forest or swamp, an abandoned spacecraft floating in space. Whatever your favorite genre, sound off in the comments and share the setting you love best.

Ready, set, go!


bio box for author Mae Clair

42 thoughts on “What is your favorite setting for a novel?

  1. Interesting question that I never really thought of before. Hmmm….I love small town settings with a connection to water. Your work nails it! 🙂 Maybe it’s a mood thing, too. I’m drawn into numerous settings. Thanks for sharing! Happy Halloween. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Happy Halloween, Natalie. So glad you enjoy how I create setting. I do have that attachment to small towns with a water connection, too, LOL. Setting does a lot to create mood and I love playing around with it. Cheers!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • I tend to think of setting as a character in itself, especially when done well. Isn’t it great to create those worlds for our readers to experience? Sounds like you are moving right along with Through the Nether Gate, Robbie. Love the title!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting question, and one I never really thought about. I like stories that intrigue, and yes, I love a body of water and a forest. My current WIP (and debut novel) include an airport, since aviation is a major player, but I’ve also used cities and my planned next mystery will be based in a small rural town. And I remember “Something Wicked This Way Comes”. No wonder carnivals often make me twitchy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love that you’re already planning a new mystery in a small rural town. Can’t wait to see what you do with the airport setting in your debut release!
      I fell in love with Something Wicked the first time I read it. I think it cemented my love of eerie carnivals 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I tend to like the darker, more mysterious places. I prefer night settings, and like things in a remote setting, park, woods, abandoned buildings, even unearthly planes. I like the appeal of a small town, but use big cities to give the small town feel more reality.

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  4. Pingback: Author Inspiration and Last Week’s Writing Links – Staci Troilo

  5. Great post and an interesting question, Mae. I have a definite penchant for the dark brooding threat of large cities, yet my thrillers take in a plethora of locations, I love the descriptive element of introducing my readers to the streets of Australia and the isolation and threat provided by nature in our outback. Throw in the big white place at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, (Yeah that one) The frontline in Afganistan, or a simple trip to the Psychiatrists couch. My muse selects the settings and I just buckle in and go along for the ride. Sigh.😀

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  6. I’ve written almost exclusively contemporary, smaller towns, and high school or college age men. I like lighter setting instead of dark and brooding.

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  7. I like small towns. Maybe that’s because I’d prefer to live in a small town. But, big cities have a lot of story elements as well. I also love the idea of an isolated cabin. The story I am working on is in that setting with a creek running about a hundred yards behind it. The soldier needed solitude and nature to try and heal himself. Thanks for this post, Mae. I loved reading all the comments. You can really tell from the comments what genres the author prefers to write. Interesting.

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    • I do think genre does a lot to dictate setting, Jan. I love small towns, which is one that can cross multiple genres. The isolated cabin with a creek is one that would attract me. as a reader. Right now I’m writing about an old home on a dead end road with a creek running behind it. Great minds, and all that, LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I tend to prefer dark and atmospheric to happy and bright. I like small towns rather than big cities. Even when I set my work in big cities, I focus on the smaller places—a restaurant, an office, an apartment, a police station. I usually get my characters into nature at some point (forests, bodies of water).

    Stephen King and J.K. Rowling both craft settings that I find memorable and appealing.

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    • I have a tendency to have my characters come across some kind of body of water (lake, river, creek) or woods. I’m completely with you on dark and atmospheric. Someday I want to set a story in an old farmhouse in the middle of cornfields.

      King and Rowling are masters of what they do. I especially love how Mr.King can take the everyday/mundane and spin it into something hair-raising!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Tough question, because I cover a lot of sub-genres. Mine would have to be someplace lonely, isolated, and a bit creepy. Might be a car wreck while waiting for the magpies to eat you, could be a forest where you’re going to do battle with the ghost of a vindictive witch, Even a dangerous wilderness with man-eating lions about.

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    • I love small towns and rural settings too, Joan. And, oh–a lighthouse! That’s an awesome one I overlooked. I recently bought a mystery novel that involves a lighthouse. I have a special fondness for them and also lightships. Great choices!

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      • Would it surprise either of you that we share the same opinions on settings? And, while we’re discussing lighthouses and carnivals, I have abandoned WIPs that feature both. (I fully intend to get back to those someday, but time has been in short supply lately.)

        Liked by 2 people

      • No surprise there about our shared love of settings, Staci 🙂
        I love would love to encourage you to work on those WIPS, but I hear you about time. Maybe you can spin part of them into a current work. I’m quasi/sort of doing that with Eventide and my abandoned trunk novel.

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      • That’s something to consider.

        I didn’t realize you were using a trunk novel to work on Eventide. After the book is done, I’d love to hear more about which parts are new and which were taken from the earlier work.

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