(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.
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.
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.
I love this picture.When I took it last year, there was a sign next to it saying what kind of tree it was and Please Do Not Pick the Branches or the Blooms.
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.