Tourist Tuesday

I love bridges… I’m not really sure why. Maybe it’s the ‘crossing over’ thing. The mystery of what is on the other side. I mean I am a writer 😉 And I do view all places as possible body dumping sites.

Here are a few of my favorites.

 

Do you have ‘things’ that attract your interest for some unexplained reason? I’d love to hear.

Writer’s Wednesday

I’ve blogged a couple of times about the importance of settings. While I think we as writers talk a lot about settings it still is the most under used element in writing. To write a story with a ‘vague’ setting is like writing a romance without ever describing your hero. As I talk to few writers, I often hear that they don’t want to use a place they aren’t familiar with. Now while I agree that it can be a challenge, I also think the internet has open the entire world to writers.

My novella, Taking a Risk, is sit in the Amazon. Never been there. But afternoon spent viewing travel sites, nature sites, and cultural sites, I felt I could write a story there. I made a list of some of the native wildlife, the temperature and general weather conditions for the time of year my story, and some of local history. I bookmarked sites I felt I would I return to as I was writing.
Also don’t overlook social media as a great reference source. I’m friends on Facebook with fellow writers from all over the world.
I’m not saying every book needs to take place exotic place. Remember the setting is a character. The ‘real’ tooth fairy has no place in a romance. Taking a Risk needed to be take place in the Amazon. The jungle was as important as the hero or heroine.
As a pantser the only ‘planning’ I do before beginning a new WIP is start pulling pictures from my character notebook. The setting is included in this skeleton list I start off with. I have to know where my story takes place.

As with certain characters, settings have some stereotypes….

A small town adds quaintness but it can also amp up the suspense. A secret everyone knows about but refuses to admit. What will they do to keep their skeleton in the closet? The Inheritance takes in a small rural town. Beth (my heroine) doesn’t know where to turn when things start to get ‘creepy’ – everyone seems to be a part of the conspiracy. Beth also has to deal with one grocery store that doesn’t carry kale which she needs for her morning smoothie. Now while this doesn’t play into the suspense it does add to her frustration.

Or maybe the cold harshness of a big city works better with your story. The chaos of urban living adds a barrier to your hero seeking a peaceful evening to seduce your heroine.

Of course, I love to take a setting and twist it into something unexpected. For example isn’t this garden beautiful? A wonderful place to sit and read…or so one of my heroines think. But in reality a serial killer selects his victims from this park.

Lacey spends hours reading here unaware a serial killer watches her - planning her torture and finally her death

Lacey spends hours reading here unaware a serial killer watches her – planning her torture and finally her death

An oasis in the heart of a city

An oasis in the heart of a city

flowers the color of blood

flowers the color of blood

Don’t overlook the power of a setting. Also don’t be afraid of it. Let your muse run wild with a place, what unexpected things can happen in a place?

Writer’s Wednesday

Today I’m sort of self-promoting… bouncing ideas so to speak. I’m going to do a class – Settings, The unexpected twist. The focus of the class will be how to use settings in ways the reader will not expect. I plan on using a lot of pictures as prompts. This is currently the format I’m thinking of…

Here is what I think happens....

Here is what I think happens….

For example, fog usually means bad things are lurking. Or provides a standard setting for horror/paranormal/fantasy scenes.
But what IF it provides cover for two forbidden lovers?
…the hero brings the heroine here to propose marriage. He’s a CIA agent and needs to figure a couple of things about what’s going on with an investigations. Her mother is really ill so she has wanted to keep their relationship on the down low. The fog can be used as cover for a lot of things. The serial killer tracking the hero. The jealous sister who knows the minute the heroine gets married she’ll be left with caring for their mother fill time. Ect.
Or IF maybe the hero wanted for the fog to roll in to ask the heroine to the bridge because waiting on the other side is her birth mother. He leads over to the woman, the heroine has spent the last six years searching for.
The ‘homework’ assignment that would go with this lecture would be to pick one of the three pictures and come up with two ways the setting could be used in an unexpected way.
Now of course this is a ‘light’ version of course material but based on this snapshot ~ I’d LOVE LOVE LOVE thoughts on this set-up.
AND don’t forget tomorrow starts the…

Make sure to stop back

Make sure to stop back