Shelley, thanks for the great links! It’s always good to keep a file of resources on hand for these types of situations.
Two things I thought especially interesting in your remarks were the comment about distant versus up-close setting; an author should use both so that we have a sense of context. We do tend to focus on what the character is directly experiencing when we talk about setting (the sun beating down on their neck) but the overall world matters, too. When I look down Venice Boulevard here in LA I see the San Gabriel mountains framed by palm trees, which is not what I saw when I looked down the main drag in Lawrence, Kansas. It is a very different experience.
The other is the importance of treating characters as characters first; what would the character do in this situation versus “What would a man do in this situation?” This connects to the question of POV; we have to be able to imagine what this character, with all their history (not just gender), would do in this moment.
Thanks for chiming in!