One of my beta readers (okay, my dad, but he’s a tough critic 😉 ) was giving me feedback on the first fifty pages of my new paranormal romance and he asked, “What about the setting?”
My response: What do you mean?
“Your dialogue is tight. The scenes are fun, but you don’t give much description of the house.”
To which I responded. “Ah. I hate writing setting.”
He paused. “But don’t you think it’s important?”
I got quiet. Well, of course, I know it’s important but frankly, the part I hate most in books is those long paragraphs describing the building or the room. I flip right by them to get to the dialogue, the action, and especially the sex scenes.
But he got me thinking about setting. In my first book, the castle is almost like a character in the story. I spend days plotting out the layout of the rooms and the furniture within the rooms. But this book, the main setting is a house. It could be any house. It wasn’t that important to the story or me. But to the reader, it was. I needed to balance my hatred of long drawn out setting descriptions with the readers need to create a picture in their head.
I gave in to good advice. Last night I sketched out the house. I went back and added details to the scenes to give the reader an image for the room. And I now know one of my weaknesses is setting. I either get too into the details or don’t give enough. No happy medium here yet.
Which got me wondering, what do you think about setting? Do you like the 1-2 page description of a place or would you prefer that it be revealed within the dialogue tags as the scene unfolds? What is the happy medium?