Tuesday, 7 October 2014

8 Settings I Can't Resist

I was just musing a little while ago about how there are certain settings in stories that never fail to attract my attention. It's like a good tune on the radio (remember those?) that you hear in the background which changes your mood. If I read the back of a book or movie box and see the following settings, I'm more than likely going to give the story a shot.

Exceptions, of course, include horror movies where the setting doesn't matter at all so I'm still quite unlikely to see them and war movies where the setting is usually incidental to the story.

So let's get this started!


#1 - Empty Streets

I guess this might be obvious due to While You Were Dancing, but there's something about a normally flooded area rendered empty that catches my attention. And how rare is it that you see empty streets outside of midnight in a shady area of town? More than not it ends in an interesting plot seeds to sprout.


#2 - Camping Sites

Not including horror, as I said before, there's something about getting away from it all and leaving your comfort zone that speaks to me. There have been few stories that don't involve camping scenes or begin in a camp that don't attract my attention. Unless it involves some sort of killer, I never turn away from a good camping scene. . . unless it takes up a third of the book, that is.


#3 - Small Towns

Small towns tend to focus their stories on community and personal relationships on a scale that interests me. All the more because they also tend to feature a lot of nature which never fails to attract me. About the only exception is when the story ignores the potential playground of character interactions to focus on a romance of some sort. There's a world out there to explore, so let's see it!


#4 - Cyberpunk Cities

Cyberpunk can get a bit too nihilistic or ridiculous (corporations running the world are a bit too unrealistic too imagine) but the setting of a dirty, overstuffed, and technologically advanced setting is a great place to start a plot. Where it goes is hard to tell most of the time, but it is a fascinating launching pad for a story.


#5 - Airships

I don't think I need to explain this one. It is a ship that is flying instead of sailing. What more is there to say?


#6 - "A Faraway Land"

Whether a fantasy like Prydain, Middle Earth, or a Galaxy "far, far, away," a new land filled with no rules is likely to get me excited. Of course, it's not enough for it to be a stock fantasy world that's LOTR-lite like a lot fantasy post-Tolkien. It's in how the land and people work that interest me.


#7 - The Mountains

There's something oddly disconcerting about the mountains and their relative emptiness that can lead to good atmosphere in a tale. That said, it has to actually use the terrain to be successful-- just because it takes place in the mountains doesn't mean its okay to use them as window-dressing. The characters are essentially heading toward the top of the world. There has to be something there worth going into.


#8 - Hidden Bases

This is pure '70s spy / space opera here, but I have such a strange thing for hidden or underground bases in stories. Like the characters have discovered the secret evil pocket and hiding place of evil in the world. The good guys will have no relief or back up, and the villains have the home-field advantage. As out heroes enter the endgame, will they be able to survive the villains and save the world? Keeping reading to find out.


So those are my favorite places to set a plot. How about yours? There are, after all, an infinite number of possibilities. Here's hoping we get more stories with settings like the ones listed above. I never get tired of them and I doubt I ever will.

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