Image courtesy of Daniel Thomas-6 via Unsplash

1. Show your character interacting with the setting. This relates to the “show don’t tell” adage. Instead of telling the reader that a storm is approaching, show your character running outside to bring in the baby’s teddy bear so it doesn’t get ruined.

2. Use setting to create tension. At times, your character should be at odds with their world, whether it’s the natural or physical world. Perhaps the roof develops a leak moments before an important visitor arrives.

3. Consider senses other than sight. How does your setting smell? If your character imagines touching the faraway mountain range, would it be smooth or rough?

4. Include unusual story-specific details. The sky isn’t simply “blue,” is it? Maybe it’s an inky blue that matches the sapphire in your character’s new engagement ring.

5. Show how the setting changes over the course of the story. If your character’s life is disintegrating, their surroundings might reflect that. The progression of the seasons is another good place to start.

You may also wish to consider why your story is set where it is. Why did you choose its particular setting? If there’s something unique, some reason the story needs to take place here, then make sure to share that with your reader to heighten their engagement.