Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Photo Tuesday - Similar Scenes

Getting the feel of a real life scene is critical when writing. There is always the chance our readers have visited the same location.

Every town, every beach, every mountain has its own feel. There are buildings unique to every city. The countryside in Vermont possesses features we won’t find in Iowa. The beaches in North Carolina are very different from the beaches in Oregon. Visiting the locations in our books, either physically, through books, or on the Internet is essential.

For all the differences, though, there are similarities.

My husband just got back from staying with his parents while they visited Savannah. (They will join us in their motor home today!) While in Savannah, he took a cruise on a riverboat:


Ironically, he said it was almost exactly like the riverboat cruise we took with our church’s singles group in Wilmington a couple weeks ago:


He said the riverfront looked almost identical - same buildings, same marsh areas, and same loading docks:



As we are writing, we need to consider the fact that some aspects of our location will carry a universal feel. While we need to maintain accuracy in our work, it’s often not as difficult as we make it out to be!

Are you working on a scene that is universal? Are there locations in your story that are duplicated elsewhere in the world?

22 comments:

ggray said...

Yes, this is a bit of a tightrope to walk when describing places. We don't want to be so particular as to stop the action but add enough of the facts and local details so readers can walk in our steps. I often get carried away with my memories of places I love and use for locations and have to go back and edit specifics that I love but don't really enhance the story.
Thanks for this reminder.

Karen Walker said...

This was a very helpful post to me, Diane. Thanks.
Karen

Agnes said...

I love Savannah. I remember that boat :-)

Tara said...

My scene is pretty universal (and made-up): Small college town not far away from the seaside big cities.

B. Miller said...

Savannah is beautiful.

I know exactly what you mean. My WIP is set in a fictional Southern town but I know my readers will recognize a lot of the setting. It's in upstate SC and I've borrowed heavily from real life to create my imaginary town. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I can think of many towns that look like any other town.

Jan Morrison said...

In my mystery 'The Rock Walker' I write about Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia. It is a one of - nothing else is like it in the world so that is fun! However, it is hugely visited so I have to get it right without being cliche. Good post - lots to think about.

Talli Roland said...

Love the photos - beautiful boat!

I think my locations are universal: urban cities, usually.

Helen Ginger said...

A lot of settings are somewhat universal, which is good. We can breeze through those and spend our time researching those that are unique and different.

Helen
Straight From Hel

Jemi Fraser said...

I worry about settings quite a bit. I prefer to make up my settings if possible. :)

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I tend to use actual areas of the country with made up suburbs, shops, etc., so I guess my general settings could be adapted universally.

Lola Sharp said...

I find setting to be almost another character, if done well.

I love the photos and post. :)
~Lola

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I tend to stick with universal scenes in general, although some are specific.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

When I was working on This Is the Place, scenes rose in my memory like photos. And mostly they were spoton! Having said that, I had an old friend who shared my hometown of Salt Lake City, Utah, read my book just before publiciation. Horrors! I had transported one of the city's major sculptures of seagulss to a different spot. Our memories can play tricks on us!
Best,
Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Author of the multi award-winning This Is the Place

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I try to write smaller towns that have some of the same aspects as many other small towns around the country. You're right--there are so many places that share similarities.

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

Allyn Evans said...

good info, as always, Diane! :)

Eric W. Trant said...

Excellent point!

I'm writing about Bolivia and extrapolating (that's what it's called, extrapolation) what I know about Mexico and Latin culture farther south, right or wrong.

The mountains I'm using Colorado and New Mexico. The desert, West Texas.

For your Savannah marshes I'd use the Houston Gulf Coast and the Louisiana swamps.

Good correlation between this and my latest post!

Correlation. Extrapolation. Can you guess that I'm an engineer...

- Eric

Nancy J. Parra said...

These are great pictures and you are right-we need to be accurate- but some experiences are universal.

Cheers~

TerryLynnJohnson said...

oh, good point! I've just spent some time on this trying to describe a winter bush in Northern Ontario.

Elliot Grace said...

...rode the "Georgia Queen" last summer with the family. Savannah is a gem to behold:)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Eric, no, I never would've guessed!

Elliot, Savannah is wonderful.

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