Some of the writers I have been communicating with these days have been discussing setting and purple prose. Okay, I whine and they pacify me, but I like to consider that still some form of communication.
The big discussion at this time is the use of setting as an externalization of the character. For instance, if I am writing about a person who is struggling with loss and seeking meaning.
He had walked for a long time before resting against an old tree which had been downed in a storm. All sorts of life had sprung up around the fallen branches, the forest constantly in change, renewing itself. Life and death part of the one continuous process. Stepping over the tree, he moved on, pushing through the underbrush, listening to the sound of small animal life scurrying at his approach, an unseen world acknowledging his presence.
I have read some writing where an author meticulously writes about an environment, giving the characters a place to breathe and die, but not using the environment in any way. Some people argue that if you write about a room, where the windows are open and the wind is blowing through, flapping the red curtains...that there should be a reason the window is open and the wind is blowing in. It doesn't have to be earthshaking..it can be something obtuse.
Rick Moore and I recently discussed proofreading. One of the things I suggested was proofreading a work maybe four deliberate times. Once each for character, plot, theme, and finally setting. And maybe a last one for good measure.
But in working over a setting, in allowing it to become another character, in wisely utilizing colors, scents, shadows, texture and taste...one can add another dimension to a story, re-enforcing character and manipulating a reader subliminally.