Books -- reading and writing.
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And whatever connections I can make between these chapters of my life.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

SETTING: 101

Today I'm thinking about setting. 

(I'll be musing even more about this topic when I share my new book on Wednesday, Feb. 11, at 7 PM at INKWOOD BOOKS in Tampa. I'd love to see you there!)

When I started writing THE WAY TO STAY IN DESTINY, I had just moved to Florida. I was a total Fish Out of Water. The flora and fauna mystified me!

Can you-- should you-- write about a place you've never visited, never lived, know nothing about? Well, here I was. Surrounded by setting.

I took a lot of walks and lots of pictures. I felt the Spanish moss, the prickly aloe plants, the fat green leaves where tiny lizards hid.


There were many houses that looked just like the Rest Easy Rooming House and Dance Studio!

And there were flowers everywhere.
Take bougainvillea.
On a walk near the library where I was writing, there it was. Gorgeous.




Look at those tiny white centers. Perfect- I'd never noticed them before.

There's a DO NOT ENTER sign at the footpath to this garden.
So at first I didn't see the fig tree. 
Just like the one I grew up playing under, low and bushy. 
Mine was a great hiding place.



But that day I saw figs. Not ripe figs, but figs.

Which reminded me to put a fig tree in something new I'm noodling.
There's already a garden in that story.
Where of course, there would be pots for raising cuttings, starting seeds, Pass-a-long Plants. 
This one's not set in Florida, but in the South where everybody had a garden, many started from plants shared with neighbors.
Perfect.

So work on your settings, writers young and old. 
Add that layer of richness, the color and the smells.



And for anyone freezing all over the country today, here's a beautiful Poinciana tree that will bloom in late spring near my house.






Shared Links, about setting:

Barbara O'Connor quoting Elizabeth George. What could be better?

A reminder of how the setting can change your character in this review of a book by Kimberley Griffiths Little, set in Louisiana:

And okay, I know you can't travel everywhere. 
Or even find pictures of everything. (Hogwarts, anyone?) 
So here are some tips for figuring out setting in Fantasy and Science Fiction. 

4 comments:

LInda Baie said...

Thank you for such a rich post. I enjoyed it for myself, but also for my teacher self-lovely ideas to push the students to include more about their settings. They so often focus only on character, & I think they do this when reading too. Perhaps writing more of their settings will help them look further into the stories read, too.

Carol Baldwin said...

Nice reminder, Augusta. As a new part-time Floridian I'm also enjoying all the new flora and fauna! enjoyed your pix .

Rosi said...

Very nice post with good reminders. I enjoyed all the photos. It's great to be able to visit the places we write about, but with Google Earth, we can learn a lot about places we can't get to.

Augusta Scattergood said...

Details are crucial. All the senses!

A good reminder for all of us, young and old.
Thanks for your comments.