Saturday, February 4, 2012

In the Town I Love


Candace Bushnell did it with New York City in One Fifth Avenue. Pat Conroy did it with Charleston in South of Broad. Both novels are love letters to their respective cities. Though extremely different in style, both authors convey a sense of place so strong that the setting becomes another character. Their readers can wander the streets like a native even if they never set foot within the city limits.

I fell in love with my adopted hometown while listening to a cowboy ballad under an Old West sunset. As the final guitar chords faded, this lifelong California girl realized Reno could also be home.

How can you make readers fall in love with your beloved places?

6 comments:

  1. I think a strong setting is key to grabbing your reader. In most (but not all) of my books I've written about a place I know well. Or I've created my own town, mapping out steets and businesses, giving it a strong community atmosphere. It not only helps the reader "see" the setting, it's fun, too!

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  2. I agree Jannine. It's fun to create your own setting based on beloved places. The town of Haven, in Howl is based on some of my favorite N. Calif towns on the coast. Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. I love reading (and writing) books with a strong sense of place. Yes, when I was in London I had to find 221 B Baker Street! I just read a novel called Volcano Watch set in Mammoth, and wow, talk about the setting being a character!

    I also rely on maps when I'm writing. :-)

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  4. Hi Regina,
    Thanks to the Harry Potter series, there's a certain train station, I will have to visit if I ever make it to London. Great idea to keep maps handy while writing!

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  5. By instilling a bit of your emotions to your desciptions. If your readers can't see by your words, then you might as well hang up the pen (or, keyboard). Thaelia's World is based on medieval Europe, and San Varlin is a mixture of cities I've worked in over the years. I learned how to describe persons and setting from my job. There are no worse critics than field personnel :-)

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  6. Hi Diana,
    You're right about evoking emotions with description. It's fascinating how one's day job impacts someone as a writer.

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