Sunday, October 11, 2015

Surroundings

I spent the weekend in the region in which I grew up: New England. We didn't bring a camera, but if you want a taste of what it was like, I recommend the pictures on Lizziebelle's blog.

I go back to my old home state from time to time, but rarely in October. This weekend was perfect timing for the turning leaves. I'm normally not a fan of fall, but the bright foliage is one of its compensations.

The leaves turn where I live now, but not quite as brilliantly as they do in New England. Flame-colored foliage is part of my mental image for how fall is "supposed" to look, bound up in my earliest memories.

It's a reminder that in writing, setting and characterization may overlap. The setting is not just backdrop: it sets up characters' expectations as well as their environmental expectations and limitations. Do your characters have to conserve water as a matter of course? Or are they always at risk of flood? Have they experienced snow? Do they have to watch out for bears, lions, scorpions, cobras? What animals, if any, do they encounter? Can they swim, ski, snowmobile, climb mountains? Do they spend more time indoors or outdoors? Do they ever see the stars; could they identify constellations? Do they encounter wildfires, tornadoes, monsoons? What threats and pleasures do their surroundings bring? What other regions have they visited, if any? Do they know how other people live, too?

2 comments:

  1. These are, indeed, great questions to contemplate when setting your story in a certain area. The setting does, in fact, impact the story line in many ways. Thanks so much for this, Jennifer.

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