Setting is like mise-en-scene in a movie not just a physical location. The complete package comprises the setting. Think of a book where the character lives in a house. Where is the house? What kind of house is it? What are the neighbours like? Is the house in a village, a town, a city, a metropolis? What does the air smell like? What are the sounds heard in the neighbourhood? Are there wild animals nearby? A river, a lake, a stream in the backyard?
Remember, your setting is real to your characters, and the more believable to them, the more your readers will believe they are really there with them. Involve the five senses: hearing, tasting, touching, smelling, and seeing. Involve emotions to convey reality to your audience. The attitude of your story’s setting, implied or explicitly stated, is as real to your characters as to your audience.
Imagine an 1800s Wild West town… A drunken cowboy shooting off his pistol…Your boots making sucking sounds as you walk across the road from getting stuck in the mud of the street after a rain… The smell of hay from a stack outside a barn… The deep dark grey of weathered wood on buildings… Scared citizens scattering from the prospect of another shootout.
Imagine Lodon during a WWII bombing run… Panic fills the air as people scurry for bomb shelters during the first few minutes of the siren sounding… The loud explosions as the bombs hit home… The crackling fire of burning buildings lighting the blackedout streets… Screaming children looking for thier parents… Smoke filling the air making it hard to breath.