It’s hard enough to write about a place you know well. What do you do when your story takes place somewhere you’ve never been?
Let’s say you have a great idea for a novel set in Granada, Spain, but you’ve never been outside the USA. How do you make the setting realistic? More to the point, how do you keep from making the sort of gaffe that will make readers who have been there throw your book across the room?
To avoid bogging down prose with overly detailed narrative, it’s important to make wise choices when we write descriptive passages in our stories. Three paragraphs describing a setting or character’s appearance is a big no-no in my book. As a reader, it will turn me off faster than grammatical errors. I know! Bad, right? So how do we create a mental picture with the minimal amount of words? Continue reading “Accessorize Your Characters: Paint a Picture with Fewer Words”
Since I love to travel, geography, studying maps and taking pictures go hand in hand with my traveling. I like to study the topography of an area, see its natural features, and get to know its characteristics. I take lots of pictures and make lots of notes in case I want to put the place or setting into one of my books.
My book, Wilderness Heart, was set along Highway 14 in Idaho. Highway 14 goes east of Grangeville, Idaho, to Elk City, Idaho. As a teenager growing up in Lewiston, Idaho, we drove Highway 14 to Red River Road, then on to Red River Ranger Station in the wintertime, where we would grab the entire contents of our truck and pile them onto sleds to be pulled behind snowmobiles. We would ride about 15 miles all the way into Dixie, Idaho, where my parents had a cabin. Continue reading “Getting it Right: Places and Settings”