Settings often have common sounds, just as traditional characters often use certain expressions. Big cities, for example, have the common sound of traffic. Crowded cafeterias have the common sound of conversation. Libraries are known for the common lack of sound, or quiet.
If your characters bang a uey and drink from a bubbler, the setting is probably Boston. There are catch phrases and mottoes are specific to certain areas. If your setting happens to have one, or a few, it can add to the personality of the place. Little details like this can make your setting more important and less interchangeable, which will make it feel more like a character.
Bonus tip: Consider words that did not always exist, or that have a meaning that has become altered by slang. For example, time traveling to the past might have characters pointing out the modern misuse of the word awesome.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this lesson in preparing to write settings that feel like characters – my A to Z Challenge theme for 2015. If you long to discover more in-depth details on this topic, I have a .99 cents (US currency) ebook available on Amazon and Smashwords.
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Question of the day: What is your favorite quote?