Friday, April 01, 2011

Settings

Current Project: April Fool's Anthology
Status: Still in my head and waiting for the big R (retirement)

There is so much to learn. I loved Genene's blog and how someone actually has her beat as far as planning and plotting. Well, everyone has me beat. However, I hold a lot in my head. Even if an author does not write it down, or sketch it out, or plot doesn't mean the plot isn't there.

As for settings, I find when I write about an area I am familiar with, my descriptions are so much better. My first time travel book was set in southern Oregon. I grew up in that area and I know the flora, fauna as well as the geography. I know the mountains and the hills and where the kids went to hang out and do other non-mentionable things.

This time travel was also my first book that really caught an editors attentions. I sent it to Kate Duffy at Zebra and she loved it. Unfortunately, they weren't buying time travel. She told me to send her my next book. I did and she gave me a contract for two books.

Knowing your setting is so important to the development of your books. I heartily applaud those who can write it all down before they begin a project. I probably get about a quarter of the material written down then proceed.

So the question goes out there. How much or what do you plan where setting is concerned before you start a project?

2 comments:

Genene Valleau said...

"How much or what do you plan where setting is concerned before you start a project?"

LOL! Most of you know my reputation for detailed plotting and planning. And I do. Perhaps because things go in one ear and fall out the other side much more quickly than with those who are "pantsters."

But how much do I plan about setting before I start? Depends on the project.

If I'm writing one standalone book, I have a general idea of the setting. I probably have photos from magazines or online that have caught my imagination. Then as I develop scenes, I also develop the setting in more detail.

However, in a more complex project, such as my nine-book series, I do much more upfront planning because I don't want the dining room in the front of the house in one book and in the back of the house in another book. If it's not written down, it may be forgotten. :)

I still develop details as the story develops, but much more has been done up front.

I've said it before and will repeat it: I'm in awe of writers who can keep so much in their heads, then get it down on paper so it actually makes a wonderful story!

Like Chris, I feel there is so much more to learn! For those who are in the beginning stages of their writer's journey, please don't be overwhelmed. That just means this journey will always be interesting with something more to anticipate!

Paty Jager said...

Great post. If I can I like to visit an area before I write the book. If I can't, as with my latest contemporary set in Guatemala, I watch travel shows on the area, read books and contact locals to get the info I want to make the story sound like the reader is in the jungle.