Monday, December 2, 2013

Three Signs You’re in Love – And What To Do About It (Novel Settings)
By Amber Stokes

Human characters don’t have to be the only ones to fall in love! The settings of a novel are characters all their own – or at least that’s how they’ve been for me. And while I don’t approve of their faults (and there are faults in characters of any sort), there’s something about the settings I love that prompts me to look deeper, to lean close and listen to their heartbeats and their stories.

For a writer, what are the signs of a blossoming setting-romance? (While Bleeding Heart has two main settings, I’m going to reference Virginia City, Nevada in my examples, as I just had the pleasure of revisiting the town while on vacation.)

1.     Tell Me Everything. You’ve just met, and you can’t get enough of hearing about their past. You want to know what the other enjoys, what bothers them, where they come from, and what their passions are.

Every little detail I learn about Virginia City fascinates me. When I was working on the prequel to Bleeding Heart (Forget Me Not), I loved incorporating little historical tidbits – like adding a Cornish character after visiting an archaeological dig, where it was noted that the uppermost street of the town used to be where the Cornish miners lived. Back in high school (when my setting-crush first began), I even chose to write an extended essay on the town’s history. And you know what? It didn’t make me tired of the history – it only fueled my love of the place. When visiting the town again this summer, I still felt the urge to take pictures of informative signs in order to record historical details I might have missed that I might want to use in the future. I can’t get enough of the place!

2.     You, Too?? It sends a little thrill through your heart each time you find you have something in common. You love to discover the things you share.

What might a lawless-turned-tourist old mining town and I have in common? I guess that’s the fun part – discovering the things that work for us both! The summer before my senior year of college, my family and I stayed at Seven Mile Canyon Ranch, in a canyon below Virginia City. That summer I was wooed by the wind through the canyon, the rugged beauty of the place and the mysteries that spoke to my soul. I learned then and have since learned that Virginia City (then and now) and I share a love of history, an appreciation for community, flaws and inconsistencies between our hopes and our actions, a desire to find and hold onto the beautiful, and tenacious, big dreams.

3.     Can’t Wait For More. The future feels bright, and you look forward to the coming days when you’ll get to write your own story together.

Yes, Virginia City is no longer the size it once was back in the bonanza days. Yes, Virginia City has had to adapt into a tourist town in order to survive. But yes, it lives on in my imagination and in the imaginations of all those who take an interest in its history – and in the hearts of those who call it home. I’d say that Virginia City has a bright future with all of its fun events and the secrets it has yet to share. Visiting the town again made me excited to dive into edits for Forget Me Not!
For some reason, when visiting Bodie, California (a ghost town and a state park) during this trip, I didn’t feel the same connection. I bought a couple of info packets just in case a spark might someday arise and a story take root in my heart, but it definitely didn’t give me the same feeling Virginia City has given me. I guess the contrast helped me realize that each writer/author/reader won’t fall in love with every setting… And that’s what makes an obvious passion for a setting something special – something to be cultivated and cherished.
So if you have the signs of setting-love, what do you do? Well, I guess what you would do in the beginnings of any relationship:

1.     Spend Time Together. Immerse yourself in the history. And, if you get a chance, visit the place. Get a feel for the atmosphere that will make your story one that readers can really get into.

2.     Talk – And Listen. Tell your setting your ideas. (Not literally, of course. But figuratively set the stage in your mind and tell the story as you walk along through the actual setting or through the history you learn. Let your imagination play!) However, be sure to listen, too – the setting might have secrets to share and ideas of its own that you might not pick up on unless you’re paying attention.

3.     Give It Time. Give the setting time to win you over. There might be more than one story there! Let yourself mull over all that you discover, and don’t rush into a setting-relationship that isn’t making you excited. You might need to give it time, yes, but realize you can’t force a passion you don’t feel.
How about you? Have you had a setting-romance as a reader or writer?


Post a Comment

Newsletter Subscribe



Blog Archive

Powered by Blogger.

Historical Romantic Suspense

Historical Romance



Popular Posts

Guest Registry