Lay of the Land- Setting

Setting, scenery, location.  It’s all the same thing.  Simply put, it’s where your story takes place.  Setting has been a hot topic online this week.  Which lead me to think about the stories I write and the location I use.  Most of my stories take place in bayous.  It’s not a matter of writing what I know.  OK it is a little, I grew up near the bayous.  Heck, most of my county seems to be near a wetland, reclaimed or otherwise.  But that’s not why I write about wetlands.  I love wetlands.  They are primordial and full of unseen magic.  Swamps and bayous are the perfect place to dispose of that body or meet a sinister fellow.  It lends itself well to dark stories, fantastical tales, or a little romance.  How many areas can one claim an apex predator is living in their backyard?  Humans don’t count.  Basically, I love a good swamp.

Currently, I’m writing a series of short stories all set in the bayous of lower Alabama.  Doing so, I have needed to indulge in a little research.  For one what is a wetland?  What’s the difference between a bayou and a swamp?  Like pornography, I know it when I see it.  But I wanted something a little more academic.  So here we go.  (Different agencies have somewhat different definitions)

  • Wetland– basically anywhere land touches water.  That includes the marshes, swamps, and bogs.  Not entirely sure if the beach counts as a wetland, but it’s related to them. 

    Orange Beach

    Orange Beach

  • Swamp- water saturated area with vegetation floating on the surface, usually in a forested area. Photo taken by Tammy Sue.

    photo by Tammy Sue

    Very large beautiful swamp cypress trees located at Banks Lake GA.

  • Marsh– watery area with many tall grasses and some shrubs, no trees.  Can you see the gator in the grass?  That sounds like the beginning of a bad joke.



  • bayou-open waterways with a current but look like a swamp (I had to look this on up online, no definition was in my books) basically, it’s a swamp with a small waterway running through it.  Real swamps have no current.

Is that clear as mud?

What’s your favorite setting?  Is it real or imagined?



4 thoughts on “Lay of the Land- Setting

  1. Rivers for me. Always has been. Large rivers, pouring into the sea, salty as the ocean. Small rivers, tumbling down mountains, meandering over meadows.
    And most of my rivers are real places, whether the story is set during the present day or historical. I seem to write better stories that way.
    Got any temperate marshland in your stories?


    • A little. Most of the stories are set in either a bayou, swamp, or land. I have one that is set in a salt marsh. I love the wetlands. Rivers are nice but I prefer the murky bayou which is by me. Sorry bad joke. thanks for stopping by.


  2. Pingback: New Orleans, part 1 | C.K.Rich

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