Since last week’s prompt was about comfort settings, I’m asking this opposite question this week. What settings make you uncomfortable?
I avoid hospitals whenever I can. Not that I’ve had a bad experience during any of the few times I was admitted to one. I think my dislike developed when my brother-in-law had to endure two liver transplants in six months. The coldness and sterility of the quiet corridors that went on forever didn’t induce me to linger or relax.
I’m not a city person. I do enjoy visiting interesting sites in a city, but the traffic alone prevents me from enjoying a long stay. After while, the crush of humanity makes me glad to escape to the open spaces of the country.
Both of those settings would work well if I wanted to make a main character uncomfortable since I have a genuine dislike of them. Writers are always seeking to add tension to our writing. Putting a main character in an uncomfortable setting is a great way to achieve this.
Writers, what settings have you used to make characters uncomfortable? Readers, what settings have you read that did a good job of making character uncomfortable?
I never thought of using this approach in writing, but it’s such a good idea! Thank you.
I’m so glad it’s helpful!
I’m with you on hospitals being unpleasant – I always think hospitals and nursing homes have stale air, so they would work great to make a character feel uncomfortable. This makes such good sense to place a character in a spot that will add to the tension! In Peak by Roland Smith, the 15 year old MC has to endure a stuffy court room scene, which works well because he’s a rock climber who can’t stand wearing a suit and sitting in court.
Court room scenes are a great way to add tension! I suspect only the judge is ever comfortable, and probably not that often.