A setting is the backdrop within which a narrative occurs, but it goes far beyond the physical characteristics of a place in which events happen. Settings occur on both the storyworld and individual story levels. Settings at both levels are similar, but are differentiated by scope and the level of detail. Setting consists of:
- Mythos: The mythos is the established conflicts and battles of the world, the characters of that world, its stories and rumors, and its creatures (Klastrup & Tosca, 2004). The mythos should also include the “official” history of the happenings within the storyworld.
- Topos: The topos is the setting of the storyworld or world in a specific period and geography. In addition to the physical setting, the topos deals with the physical laws that exist in the storyworld (e.g. laws that govern whether faster-than-light travel is possible or whether magic exists).
- Ethos: The ethos consists of the social values and laws, implicit and explicit ethics, and codes of behavior within the storyworld. The ethos provides the knowledge needed to “know how to behave in the world” and defines what is acceptable or inappropriate behavior in that world (Klastrup & Tosca, 2004).