Margie Lawson

Changing your Writing World

Power Up Your Setting

We develop our plots, gotten to know our characters, filled our story with goals,  obstacles, conflicts, stakes, and everything feels wonderfulmous


No matter how much you love your story, we all have experienced those times when we’ve shared a chapter or a scene, and surprisingly everyone in the group just doesn’t feel the love.

They say:

  • Why are these characters talking gibberish or a different language?
  • Why do these characters not use money?
  • I don’t understand.
  • Where is this happening?
  • How do your characters feel?
  • How are the characters moving?
  • How did she get a backpack that I’ve never seen before?
  • Why are you in the dark when it is two o’clock in the afternoon?
  • And on and on and on.

Ah the pain, but don’t panic!  Don’t worry. We’ve all been there. WE HAVE ALL BEEN THERE! I’ve been there. I’ve gone back in and worked and worked and worked.  These are problems indeed, but not insurmountable problems.

Power up your setting can help you overcome!


  • Develop a story world
  • Give clues to society, culture and structure
  • Ground the reader and character in place
  • Make place mean more than just a place to be
  • Use setting to reveal point of view character
  • Use setting to reveal non-point-of-view character
  • Reveal the emotional state of a character
  • Use subtext/metaphor to make the settings have a deeper meaning
  • Advance plot
  • Remain authentic to story and character

And the key is bringing your setting to life! And we can do it! 

Whether you are working on your first novel or your fortieth novel, the class will push you deeper to create a setting that resonates not only with characters but readers as well. 


Rhay Christou

The two things Rhay Christou loves most in the world are teaching and creative writing. With her MFA in writing from Vermont College, she has had the great fortune to combine the two. Since graduating she has taught everything from creative writing to academic writing at the university level as well as writing workshops on the lovely island of Cyprus, in Greece and in the USA.



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