Thoughts on “Spirit Run” – Part 12

Establishing the proper setting for a story can be maddening. At least for me it can be that way. I’m the type of character-creationist that loves to start an idea with the character first. In other words, I look at a person or persons and wonder how I might be able to tell their story effectively. Or in a completely new way. The setting – where the story will take place – becomes an afterthought. Is that a bad thing? Well, it most certainly can be. Let me explain….

For example, did George Lucas anticipate the story of Luke Skywalker taking place in the middle ages? Probably not. And was Tolkien conjuring ways that Frodo Baggins could drop the One Ring in the fiery pits of planet Mars? No, probably not either (but could you imagine that?!). Sure, both stories could have been told in alternate time periods – if we’re honest about that – but chances are, each creator had a firm stance as to what particular place in time their characters would reside. Spaceships and high tech gadgets for Lucas; swords and shields for Tolkien’s universe. And with the setting established, the rest of the story can fall in line, especially the characters.

As for me? I don’t normally know what time period I want my characters to jump around in. I can craft a father estranged from his son, a woman seeking her dead daughter’s killer, or two brothers playing a game with one another, but when it comes time to pick a setting, I’m at a loss. Ugh. So how do I choose what to use? It’d be nice to have a world readily established so I don’t have to worry about it. But I don’t. And the process can be maddening.

I say all this because my story, Spirit Run, dances between two very different settings. On one hand, there’s the spiritual realm – light, bright colors, and strange beings like creeping shadows and demon-like creatures. But now, I’ve reached a point in the story where my characters are crossing over to the physical realm – so there’s streets, trees, and other Earthly things that the reader can familiarize with. Describing the physical plane is easier, but what time period should it be in? The simple answer would be 2014. It’s current and it’s modern. But one part of me says to not do the obvious. Leave it up to interpretation, perhaps?

Well, I guess we will see where my mind and heart go on that one. Here’s to having clear vision on setting.

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