Here's an exercise on the importance of setting. The way I see writing fiction is that there are all these opportunities to develop story and character. One way to develop character is through setting. One exercise to try is the following:
Describe the place where someone lives just by the details. The details that you choose reveal the character.
A foster child.
A police detective.
A man who has separated from his wife and family but wants to go back to them.
A man who has separated from his wife and family and doesn't want to go back to them.
A high school student's room/ he's living with his grandparents.
A girl who has run away from home and is living with three other runaways.
A boy and girl who are seventeen and have a child.
This could go on and on. The purpose of the exercise is to focus on how setting can evoke and develop character. MORE ON SETTING/CHARACTER in the next post.