on Writers Helping Writers:
When you think about the key elements of storytelling, characters and plot immediately come to mind, but what about the setting? Do you view it as 1) a vital story component, or 2) just the place where story events happen?
If you picked 1, nice job. If you picked 2, no worries. Go here, scroll down, and buckle in. Reading through these setting articles will transform the way you view the setting.
The setting tied to each scene carries a lot of storytelling weight because it had the power to touch and amplify anything to do with characters, events, and emotion. Used correctly, a location can characterize the story’s cast, steer the plot, evoke emotions and mood, create windows to allow for active backstory sharing, provide conflict and challenges, and act as a mirror for what the protagonist needs most, reinforcing his motivation at every step.
When it comes down to it, the setting is storytelling magic. What other element can do so much to enhance a story?