The setting of your story is where it takes place. It’s the world of your story…and it can be wherever you want it to be.

That’s one of the fun things about being a writer. You can set your story in a favourite place, a modern setting or a world created completely from your imagination.

Setting is important in a story because it draws the reader into your character’s world. Setting can also be like another character in your story, it can make things happen. For example, in a fantasy world where a forest comes to life, or in the real world where character could be fighting to survive in the outdoors (like Gary Paulsen’s fabulous book, Hatchet)

When you are creating a world for your story (a setting), these are the kind of things you will need to think about:

  1. What does your world, look, feel and smell like?
  2. How does your world work? What sort of systems of government, schools and workplaces are there in your world?
  3. How does your social network operate? Is there technology? Are there computers? Or do you communicate with your friends some other way?
  4. What do you do for entertainment in your story world?
  5. What are the beliefs and values in this world?
  6. What is the everyday lifestyle of the people in this world? Do they farm? Are they at war? Is it more of a futuristic world?
  7. Who else lives in this world? What sort of creatures and lifeforms are there?
It can be lots of fun developing your world. You can draw your own maps, paint or draw pictures of the world and what’s in it.
A story world is a great place to start your story.
Below you’ll find our first FREE LESSON PLAN at Writing Classes For Kids.
Click here to download a FREE, fun lesson plan/writing activity about setting that you can use at home or in the classroom.
If you want to know more about why Setting is important to your story, check out BubbleCow’s great post on the subject.
Happy writing and hope you enjoy the activities on the Where Am I? lesson plan.
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The Book Chook

Susan Stephenson is passionate about reading and writing and she blogs at www.thebookchook.com where she has lots of great resources for people who love to read and write.

We are so lucky to have her sharing her wisdom here at Writing Classes For Kids. Here are her tips and prompts to get your story off to a flying start.


by Susan Stephenson

Writers all have days when they want to write, or need to write, but just can’t get started. Here are some prompts and tips for when that happens to you.

Start with a problem. What is it? Who has it? What is your character going to do about it? What problems does the character encounter?

Try those two magic words, what and if. Ask yourself questions like:

  • what if your greatest wish came true?
  • what if you found a baby dragon or unicorn?
  • what if you were invisible?
  • what if school were banned?
  • what if you found a secret door to another world?

Does one of those questions spark an idea? Start writing!

Play a game. Get together with some friends. Write down a list of heroes, villains, settings and problems. Cut each list up to make four piles. Have each person take one from each pile and that is the outline of their story. If it doesn’t work, try again. Have fun with it!

Try Scholastic’s online Story Starter.  You spin four wheels to create your prompt. I ended up with “Describe the house of a devious dentist who tries to get into the Guinness Book of World Records.” Choose a format for your story and start typing.

If you’re stuck for ideas, often a picture can help. Look through some magazines, at art work, or online, and see if a picture might start an idea for a story. In Becoming a Story Detective  by author Sandy Fussell, she gives ideas you can use to tease out your writing once you’ve found a picture you like.

Have you tried Storybird? It’s an online place where you can make a free digital book using the wonderful illustrations provided. I love the range of pictures and often browse there, looking for story ideas.

Here’s an example of a book I made for you to check out.
At my blog, I’ve written a series of articles that give prompts for creativity. Perhaps one of those might spark a writing idea for you.

Sometimes not thinking can unblock your writing. At One Word.com, you have sixty seconds to respond to a one-word prompt above your screen. Don’t think, just write!

When I have a particular problem in a story, and need to think my way through it, I often try the Dreamlines website. Here you simply enter keywords, and then you’re presented with a sequence of dream-like images. When one of my characters was feeling lonely, I believed I wasn’t entering into her feelings enough. I typed “loneliness” into Dreamlines, and somehow that helped me find the emotions of an earlier time I’d been lonely myself, and relate better to my character.

Creating stories is huge fun, but every writer gets blocked once in a while. A complete change of pace can also work – go for a walk, hide under the dining table and listen to music, lie on the grass and watch clouds. Whatever you do, don’t give up. Take a break, but then get back to it. Writers write!

Bio: Susan Stephenson is a writer who lives about as far east as you can go on Australia without falling off. She loves reading, writing and pretending to be a chicken. Susan writes a blog about children’s literature and literacy at The Book Chook



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