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A Writer's Guide to Active Setting: How to Enhance Your Fiction with More Descriptive, Dynamic Settings
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A Writer's Guide to Active Setting: How to Enhance Your Fiction with More Descriptive, Dynamic Settings

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  97 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Enhance Your Fiction with the Power of an Active Setting!

Setting is one of the most underutilized and misunderstood elements of the writing craft. And when writers do focus on setting, they often pull readers out of the narrative and jolt their attention from the action on the page.

A Writer's Guide to Active Setting will show you how to create vivid, detailed settings that
Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 1st 2016 by Writer's Digest Books (first published December 3rd 2015)
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Alyssa White
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book has a strong sense of development. As an amateur writer I found this book very helpful when it came to painting the pictures with words. The step by step process and the development per-line can really help someone create more depth into their story. I highly recommend this book for those who might need those additional pointers in setting. Details are your friend! One of my favorite things that ties into this entire book is the idea of building the world. When having a physical place ...more
Jan 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is a great writer's reference. The different ways that setting can be used is covered and the examples provided clarify how it is done. I have gained tools for strengthening my own writing as a result of reading this book and it is one that I will refer to again and again.

This book will help you create unique characters through setting as well as deepening the way the user experiences your story.

Mary Buckham presents the information in a way that is easy to understand.

I received an ARC
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I worked through this book slowly. It is extremely insightful to anyone who wants to use SETTING to its fullest potential. Buckham does an excellent job using examples, explaining, and breaking down the examples. There were so many wonderful sidebars and bullet points to help navigate the information. I will definitely come back and explore this book as I look at setting in my own WRITING. Any writer can find value in this book.
Jacqui Nelson
Mar 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love reading and writing about setting, so Mary Buckham's book was both entertaining and immensely useful. The many examples helped solidify the concepts and made this a book I know I'll turn to often during my writing. It's earned its place on my keeper shelf...heck, it's earned a permanent place on the corner of my writing desk! Favorite line: "Lack of Setting is like going to a special event half dressed." A must-have resource for writers.
Wendy Bunnell
Oct 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
The definitive guide to writing compelling settings for your fiction. I love when a story pulls you in, not just with its characters and plot, but with a lush, descriptive setting that you can inhabit while you read. How does the setting impact the characters, the plot, and the reader?

But, I am not all about reading ten pages of description of what each passenger of the Lusitania packed for their fateful boat ship and where it was stored in the hold when the boat sank, sorry Dead Wake, that was
Kat Turner
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
This is one of the best craft books that I have ever read. Writer's Guide to Active Setting covers not only how to enhance descriptions so that they serve the story, it offers a master class on the key techniques involved in making sure that prose does double, triple, or quadruple duty.

Mary Buckham shows, through copious examples and detailed breakdowns, how word choice, verb use, and even grammar and punctuation are all essential tools. She walks us through strategies for crafting pages that s
Nyon Smith
Dec 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book changed my writing life. Before reading it, I was active seeking something to help me improve my storytelling through setting. I never knew what setting was supposed to DO. I always thought it was just the frills used to offset dialog, so that characters weren't just talking heads. Now I understand the many different ways setting can be used.

I'll be returning to this little book for years to come.
Monica T. Rodriguez
Mar 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A great book for writers who want to improve their use of setting in their novels. The author not only gives tons of examples, she picks those examples apart to show you how an author uses setting to ground the reader, add characterization, insert foreshadowing, or for whatever else you might want to accomplish. I will be returning to this when I'm in revisions! ...more
Brenda Lowder
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a great book! Mary Buckham does an excellent job of showing how important setting can be in a novel--and how expansive the definition of setting really is. Lots of good writing advice for anyone who wants to paint their writing with sun-drenched color and add vital depth.
Eleanor Jones
Dec 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: writing-craft
It was useful. Out of the four Writing Craft books I've read so far this is #2. Active setting is definitely something I need to work on and this was a good recourse for that. I loved the assignments and I wish that there was more of them.
Consider renting it at the library if you can.
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-own, s-writing
This is a good writing book about active setting. The examples were helpful. The explanation clear and concise. All in all, this is a helpful book to anyone struggling with setting or wanting to refine their craft.
Raegan Dalton
Jan 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: on-writing-well
Some basic lessons about setting, certainly some good lessons to always be mindful of. A long winded writing style. Could cut 60% of the examples and it would be a shorter yet tighter how-to book.
Dan Mackison
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
For anyone who has ever struggled with writing descriptions.
Jaimee Walls
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of my top five favorite and impressive writing books.
John Fredrick
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book. I learned valuable lessons about creating active settings. My writing has greatly improved after reading this book.
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Actually got to meet author Mary Buckham at a conference and thoroughly enjoyed her presentation, which led me to purchase her book, "A Writer's Guide to Active Setting". I found it chock full of helpful tips and advice -- in particular Part Two: Emotion, Conflict, & Backstory. For me, this section was beneficial. However, I discovered actionable advice throughout the book that easily can be applied to my own work.

I definitely recommend this writer's guide, especially to a newer novelist beginn
Maureen Howard
I received a copy of this wonderful book for reviewing purposes. I love how much information this book filled me with. It is definitely one I will always refer back to as I write any future stories. Already I have been able to pull helpful knowledge from this to make my own settings pop without overpowering the characters and the line of the story. I had never thought about how vital the different use of settings were til reading this. I apologize for rambling. This book is a must read for anyon ...more
Peggy McGuire
Apr 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this book. It's a quick read with a ton of great ideas on how to put your setting to good use to, among other things: anchor the reader in time and place, create complications in the story, show a character's emotion, and keep the story moving in an action sequence. The book contains a wealth of samples from published books to show you how the pros do it. ...more
Pat W Coffey
Jun 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing-books
This book not only "tells" the writer about an writing active settings, it demonstrates how to do it. It is an invaluable reference tool. It is a serious "go to book" for those moments when you are working through a scene, characterization, or dialogue and want to keep the reader engaged and reading further.

It is a reference for the serious writer.
Jun 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
If after you have read this book and your writing doesn't dramatically improve, perhaps you should persue another avenue of artistic expression. This book was excellent. I recorded 100+ methods to use in narrative. I recommend this to any writer. ...more
Charlene Sponsel
Apr 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have read this more than once. It is an inspiring book, one I continue to reference when I feel my descriptions are lacking. It is one of those books that will stay on my shelf for years to come.
P.A. DePaul
Oct 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing and a must-have for every writer! No matter if you're pre-published or multi-published, this book contains wisdom to take your writing to the next level. ...more
Arthur Henn
Oct 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great Book! Best writing book I've read thus far. ...more
Natalie K
Jun 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Very useful book for those of us who don't immediately consider setting when we write. I'm definitely going to refer back to it when it's time for editing! ...more
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USA Today bestselling author Mary Buckham credits her years of international travel and curiosity about different cultures that resulted in creating high-concept urban fantasy and romantic suspense stories. Her newest Invisible Recruit series has been touted for the unique voice, high action and rich emotion. A prolific writer, Mary also co-authors the young adult sci-fi/fantasy Red Moon series wi ...more

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“The writer needs to be aware that the relationship between the POV character and the Setting is what allows the reader to see and experience the story on a deeper level.” 0 likes
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