Thursday, September 20, 2007

COVER TO COVER: Location, location, location!

Creating the perfect setting can be instrumental in bringing a story to life.

Have you ever been so swept away by a book you can see the setting in your mind? Smell the frangipanis on an island? Feel the sting of dust in a desert? Hear the vibrant voices of gondoliers?

By citing those three examples, I bet you got an instant image of a setting.

Words are powerful tools and when we use them to craft a setting we can evoke feelings, memories, sympathy, empathy…you get the picture!

I’m sure some of the attraction of sheikh stories is the setting: sweeping desert sands, lush, verdant oasis, stone palaces standing the test of time…
And royal stories: opulent palaces, marble interiors, immaculate grounds…

The beauty of being a writer is being able to create a setting to compliment your plot, to create a world the reader would love to live in, whether fictitious or otherwise.

For me, I love setting my books in Melbourne, the city I live in. It’s a hip, cosmopolitan city with a vibe all its own and I deliberately choose cultural icon areas to highlight the city’s appeal.

From Acland Street, St. Kilda (FOUND: HIS FAMILY), home of the best cakes and pastries on the planet, to Brunswick Street, Fitzroy (BIG-SHOT BACHELOR), boho central, from Lygon St, Carlton (PRINCESS AUSTRALIA) Melbourne’s ‘Little Italy’ to the thrill of the Melbourne Cup at Flemington (INHERITED: BABY), I hope to bring small pieces of this vibrant city alive.

For that very reason, I’ve set COURTING CUPID in Melbourne too, in the newest trendy area, New Quay at the Docklands.

I want my readers to get immersed in the café culture there, to feel the sea breeze on their faces as they sip a latte, to make their mouths water with the delicious food served at the many restaurants, to sit back in a cosy corner of a bar and admire the pretty night skyline.

And I briefly move the book to Southbank, another trendy spot on the banks of the Yarra River, where Blane has a penthouse on the 88th floor of the new Eureka Towers in Southbank (see pic above!) It's brand spanking new, ultra modern and the place to live!

Are you getting a picture?
If so, I’m doing my job.

So get creative. Search the Net for pictures to stimulate your imagination, whether it be of a country, a house, a garden, a room.

Use descriptions, adjectives, make the setting you choose leap off the page.

Make it the type of place any reader would want to be.

What brings a setting alive for you?
(To get a feel for some of the cultural areas of Melbourne I mentioned above, click on the title links, which will take you directly to my website pages for those books, where you'll find more pictures depicting the areas in the 'under the covers' sections.)

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