Posted by: nancyisanders | April 16, 2015

Chapter Book: Brainstorm Your Setting


Ready for another fun exercise to help you brainstorm ideas for a chapter book?

Today we’re gonna explore SETTING and get our creative juices going to come up with a setting that is highly commercial and pops with kid-appeal.

When I brainstorm for setting, I use a certain process that I put together into a handy-dandy sheet for you to download, print out, and write on.

CLICK HERE to get the brainstorming sheet, WHERE IN THE WORLD IS YOUR SETTING?

The way to use this worksheet is to write down IDEAS for each of the different setting options. Then look over the list and choose your favorite.

I ended up choosing a combination of 3!

I chose the main setting for my main character to be a FAMILIAR PLACE: my neighborhood here in sunny California. (I live near Los Angeles.) But I have his best friend be from an EXOTIC REGION of the world and together they’re going to visit a UNIQUE SPOT for one of their adventures.

Then, for the exercise at the bottom of the sheet, I brainstormed ideas to add various elements into my setting.

For example, for a dangerous place in your setting, you could include a cliff that the Main Character’s (MC) parents warn not to go near. Here are some other ideas:

Silly: A toilet used as a planter in the back yard. (My friend has one!)

Mysterious: A house in the woods where an old hermit lives and everyone wonders what goes on there.

Rock-star: A nearby neighborhood where famous people live, particularly a child rock-star the MC adores.

Scary: An area in the classroom where a teacher keeps a pet tarantula and boa constrictor and the MC is afraid of both.

Expensive: A top-end fashion mall where the MC loves to window shop.

Sports: A sports arena where the MC’s dad works and take her for birthday parties with her friends.

Frilly: A spa where the MC gets her nails and hair done every week. (Think Fancy Nancy.)

There you have it! I hope you have fun generating new and exciting ideas for the setting for your chapter book.

Now plug that new setting idea into the sentence you’re working on for your story idea:

The MAIN CHARACTER who lives in SETTING does his universal theme.

Here’s an example of what your sentence might look like now:

The wannabe popstar girl who lives next door to a famous kid-idol does her universal theme.

In an upcoming post we’ll talk about how to take your universal theme up a notch, too.

So stay tuned!


  1. Nancy,
    This is awesome and extremely helpful!
    Thank you 🙂

    • I’m so glad you found this awesome!!!! Thanks for letting me know.

  2. I love the house you showed in your blog. What a great picture to remind us how important setting is in our story. Where is it located?

    • Isn’t it a beauty? It’s at the Cal State Fullerton arboretum near where I live. I had dinner there last week with my husband. That’s where I took the turtle photograph, too, from the last post. Glad you like it!

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