Setting of the story

Hi, I am writing a young adult story where they go to a fighting school (a made up school) and I would like to know if putting it in a real country or place makes it more interesting or if I should leave their location ambiguous.

Answer: You should always have a reason for the artistic choices you make that makes sense to you.

Assuming your story is set in the real world (not fantasy or science fiction) and contemporary (not historical or futuristic), then any location you choose for your fighting school will make a statement. Readers may take from it a particular political or cultural orientation.

For instance, setting the school in China or Japan would be an allusion to the history of these regions. The reader would make a very different set of assumptions if your school were set in Ireland, Israel, Russia, or Turkey.

Your setting might tip the reader off as to whose side you are on.

Similarly, putting the school at the heart of a current or former empire suggests a different political stance than setting it in an area famous for rebellion. It might say something about the school's founders -- who they were, what their beliefs were.

On the other hand, putting the school in an unspecified location, or somewhere that has been historically neutral in most conflicts makes a different statement. It might suggest an organization that doesn't take sides or is on the side of the world rather than a specific faction.

If you know the values you want your school to stand for, they may suggest a location. Or you might want to do some research to find a spot that makes sense for your story.

Click here to post comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Questions About Novel Writing.