content by

Stephanie Feldman

Five Scary Novels That Use Setting To Embody Horror

I recently reached a long-awaited milestone: my child became old enough to watch ‘90s witch classic The Craft with me. Remember that scene where unstable-goth-icon Nancy explains the nature of their deity, Manon? If God and the Devil played football, she explains, eyes alight with teenage mania, Manon would be the field they played on.

And because I’m always teaching and thinking about narrative—and because even if I show my tween “edgy” movies, I’m a nerd—I thought: that’s exactly how place functions in stories. Character and plot are here tossing the ball (or whatever football players do), but they don’t exist without place.

I don’t mean that in a literal sense—that a story needs a stage on which to unfold. I mean that place infuses and animates everything; I mean that place is an embodiment of character and conflict.

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Series: Five Books About…

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