Your Story’s Setting by Kim Wollenburg

 Let’s talk your story setting. As a writer, do you write about settings you are comfortable with or do you reach for the stars?

Setting has always been an interesting quandary for me. Just how important is setting? I think the answer to that is – it depends. (Isn’t it odd how many questions can be answered that way?) I think the reader determines how important the setting is. Some just want to know where without being bogged down by elaborate or flowery descriptions of everything the characters’ see. Others will want that. It’s a tough balance to strike for us authors.

Most of my story settings are in places I’ve never been before. There is one setting that I’d love to write more of, and definitely like to read, and that’s futuristic settings. Yes, the ones set in space on faraway planets. Some of my favorite movies/shows happened in space – Star Trek (Next Generation), Star Wars and Firefly. Same thing with books. I love to be drawn into fantastic settings that are beyond anything I can dream of. The imagination of the writers who come up with these places is amazing.

While I love Key of Solomon and am having fun writing book 2 (The Death Skull releases in August 2012), my first love is futuristic, or science fiction (as they are now known) romances. Why? In large part, because of the setting.

Exploring new places on Earth is fun, and I enjoy writing about Egypt and other exotic locales. However, I’m happiest when I’m on another planet. Or in a star cruiser dancing among the stars. It feeds something in me I have been unable to define. It could be the love of space was impressed on me from childhood but I don’t think too long on that. I just know that I love stories set in space.

The first book I sold was a futuristic romance called Hit Me With Your Best Shot. It wasn’t set in space but what I enjoyed most about that, besides Sidra, the heroine and her mysterious hero, Gideon, is creating a future world. Set on Earth in the far future, I got to take some of the familiar and twist it. Including playing with human/animal genetic crossings. Not shape-shifters. Actually crosses. Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to revisit this world as I’m re-releasing it with Lyrical Press on February 27, 2012 (love my shiny new cover!!). Same title, new sexy cover and, with the help of my fantastic editor, fixed some of the flaws. I’m excited about it re-releasing but more than that, I loved revisiting that world so much so that I’m going to write another in the same future setting. I’d forgotten how much I liked to make things up

You see, that’s the freedom of writing futuristic settings. And maybe that’s why I like to do them so much. With these, I’m only limited by my imagination and common sense (as to how things work). It’s been fun discovering what my imagination can come up with when I let it go. Sometimes, I amaze myself.

How about you, the readers? What are you favorite settings?


Posted on December 28, 2011, in General and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. A woman whose body aches for love. A woman who’s had some heartbreak, has been hurt, has maybe even done some hurting. A woman who knows she …


  2. I began reading SF myself and still have a special place in my heart for the genre–straight SF or SF romance. For me, my settings begin from something I know but then morph do some extrapolation of that setting. For example, in my SF Romantic Suspense, ETERNITY, I thought about crowded cities around the world and the state of disrepair of buildings and even buildings that had started construction but never finished. I extrapolated that to a world where overpopulation is rampant and people live in those buildings because there is nowhere else to live.

    In the YA Urban Fantasy I’m working on now, my setting is the Redwoods where I recently lived. Anyone who has hiked among the tall trees can’t help but feel that it is a magical place and anything could happen. So, it would not seem completely unusual to see fairies or unicorns or monsters in that environment.

    When writers provide something familiar with a twist of unusual is most believable to me. If it is completely different than anything I’ve experienced, I tend to get lost and have a hard time following the story.


  3. As a reader I love many settings. What grabs me most is character. Interestingly enough, how much character the hero and heroine have, if that makes sense. My favorite setting…hmmm…historical steampunk maybe 🙂


  4. I’m amazed by some of the detailed worlds you SF writers create!

    My own stories are set in places I’ve lived, although they contain paranormal elements that came from my imagination. I’ve planned a Steampunk book set in an alternate-history late-1800s Oregon. That setting required tons of research and world-building – what fun!

    I’m looking forward to reading Hit Me with Your Best Shot. 🙂


Thanks for your comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: