I’m in the desert and leaving in a day or so. I was looking at all the desert plants and thinking about how to incorporate them into a setting in a novel.

I put together a few questions you might want to think about when you develop a setting.

What kind of cactus are there? The most common are the Saguaro, the ocotillo and maybe the prickly pear, but there are dozens of other types. I’m making notes.

And if you’re not in the desert, what type of trees are in your setting?

What about flowers? The cactus itself has flowers, but there are also many colorful desert flowers. What about the flowers in your scene?

When describing the setting, you can point out if there are clusters of trees or flowers, or solitary ones. Saguaro cacti are usually solitary at least several feet or more apart. The reason is because of the water which is difficult to find in the desert.


Other things to consider are, what color are they, how do they smell or look, and do they have any particular characteristics? For example, the cacti have the thorns that can be very dangerous.

When describing a setting, maybe include the season, the weather, the birds and the animals if there are any. Make sure your reader can see themselves in your setting.