Top 5 settings I want to teleport to

Gwenyth Nickolenko
4 min readMar 17, 2021
Photo by Kourosh Qaffari on Unsplash
  1. Market place

A bustling crowd hurrying from stall to stall as venders call out to potential customers. The smell of spices for sale, piled high, and jewel toned fabrics, hung up for display and flapping in a hot summer breeze. A scene that takes place in a market place has a lot of possibilities. Maybe there is a chase scene and the crowd is a frustrating obstacle blocking the way, or whoever is being chased could blend in among everyone else. Market places also present a great opportunity for world building because there is the potential to show the rich and poor interacting, differences in what is bought depending on class, the general opinion of merchants within the world, etc. If there are magical talismans, a sales pitch could help explain that to the reader without being an obvious and boring info dump.

2. Ball

The click of heels echo upon marble floors and the swish of heavy skirts are their own music, though a string quartet still plays. Servants weave through the crowd, offering small delicacies to the nobles, who speak to each other saccharine words laced with the venom of subtle threats. Balls are not only fun to describe in all their glorious opulence, they also make for fun characterization. I, personally, love when a character can give a simpering smile while twisting a knife in your back. It doesn’t matter if they are the protagonist or an antagonist, it’s entertaining either way. Balls are the perfect place to show this skill off because of the political intrigue that tends to arise in parties filled with the nobility. However, something interesting to explore would be to use a different POV than is usually used in ball scenes. For example, a servant who wants to kill an influential duke, and has poisoned the champagne they are about to serve.

3. Forest

The river cuts through the green woods, calmly running over stones before tumbling from a cliff in a waterfall that sends rainbows arching in the air. Sometimes the trees grow so close that their roots tangle together. Other times they stand back, opening a clearing of lush green grass. In the shadows of the leaves, one can see a deer, looking up, ears alert, before it dashes out of sight. Forests not only let you describe nature and animals, but are an interesting situation to through the main character into, in general. Have they grown up spoiled and need to fend for themselves in order to grow a spine? Throw them into the forest. Have they spent their life in the wilderness, and know all the secrets of the enchanted wood? Great! Throw them in and make the villain nervous for a bit. Is someone lost? Congrats! Now they’re lost in a dark forest rotten with evil, where darkness roams free and death lurks in wait.

Photo by Sebastian Unrau on Unsplash

4. Potion apothecary

Colorful liquids, kept in vials of every shape and size, neatly line the shelves and tables. Some are corked and some leak swirling vapor. Some mean death and some mean life. Candles flicker from wherever there is room and books are piled in corners. The smell of incense fills the small shop. The floorboards creak underfoot. Apothecaries sold medicine and drugs, but consider a fantasy world where they could sell miracles or curses. Would they cost a king’s ransom? Would the general public have access? Are they illegal? How they are used could shape the world. Every other person could be cursed or the government could be corrupt and rife with the power of sole control over the magical brews.

5. Library

The gold domed ceiling hangs high above, the staircase spiraling upward for near eternity. The walls are shelves, packed full with leather bound books. The smell of parchment hovers. Upon the floor are desks occupied by uniformed academy students, ferociously studying. Weaving through the tables is a bespectacled librarian with a perpetual glare and lips pressed thin. Libraries contain information for the character and reader to learn together. They can be infinitely helpful in setting up the plot, foreshadowing, or world building. Keep in mind, a library is not limited to a school setting. Imagine a princess, desperately researching the enemy kingdom her people have fought against for three generations. The paper crinkles as she flips through pages. She ignores the sting of paper cuts, numbed by desperation. Even as the room grows dark with night and the melted candles sputter into nothing, she continues, knowing she doesn’t have long left to find the answer that so many lives depend on.



Gwenyth Nickolenko

Book blogger, aspiring author, reader, and coffee lover. Updates weekly.