Settings for a novel can be simple or complicated. But the setting has many layers. The first setting is sort of the milleau, or where the story takes place. Is this in contemporary times, historical times or some fantasy land developed by the author? There are many levels. There are particular settings such as houses and rooms. There is the outside of these residences. All of these things a writer has to take into consideration. The need to settle your characters in a time and place is important.
The first editor to comment on one of my early manuscripts sent a rejection and this little note. "Your characters are existing in a vacuum." I puzzled through this and realized what I had done. The plot was there. The characters were there but the setting was missing. There are times when I still have trouble with developing the settings and I must make myself consider every scene to make sure the setting is clear.
Clear but not too detailed. I once read a story where the first maybe twenty pages described a drive along the ocean front. There were no characters except whoever was driving the vehicle. There was no plot either. So when writing about a setting too few words will let your reader scratching their heads and too much will drown them in the words and lose waht is happening with the characters.
On the next few Wednesdays, I'll explore the pieces that make up what the setting needs to consist of.