Setting is where a story all goes down. Sounds simple enough, but there's a lot of ground to cover when thinking about setting.
The setting can include
Whew. That's a little deeper than the "This book takes place in France" that we're used to, huh? Take a look at our description of setting in A Game of Thrones for one idea of how to think critically about setting.
You might also hear people talking about macro- and micro-settings. The macro (big picture) is something like "St. Louis in the 1930s," while the micro (not-so-big picture) is "a small second-story apartment."
And when you're thinking about setting, remember—just as nothing happens in a vacuum (hence, the setting), the setting can't exist without a story behind it. Here are some questions Shmoop likes to consider when thinking about setting: