Real Places: Do Them Right or Don’t Do Them

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By Gordon Saunders I got kicked out of a novel the other day. Here’s how it happened. I was reading along okay, suspending disbelief and all, sort of getting into the head of the protagonist. She and her friends were ‘vansters,’ that is, they lived in vans and traveled all over the place, the place mostly being southeast England as …

Worthy Words: Sacramental Settings

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By Christine Sunderland Today is Palm Sunday, a major festival in the Christian year. It recalls and celebrates Christ’s humble and glorious entrance into Jerusalem on a colt, to begin the week leading to Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. As Jesus entered the gates of the city, the “multitudes” waved palms in greeting. They spread their garments and …

Using Setting as a Spiritual Takeaway

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By Sally Jo Pitts Last night while watching this sunset with my grandson and daughter-in-law, she commented, “God created amazing scenery for us to enjoy.” God’s first setting was the Garden of Eden—the environment intended for us … until the fall of man. But did you know there are places in the world in which people have low rates of …

When Your Setting Takes on Character

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By Norma Gail Setting that takes on character brings our stories to life in the minds of our readers. When the author knows the setting well, small details can enhance what our characters experience. In a recent review by Connie Porter Saunders, she wrote, “You know an author is talented when they can convince readers that a country is one …

Springing into the Next Story

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by Jan Drexler Spring is here, and it’s time to start my next book! With this new beginning, I’ve already spent hours of preparation. I’ve cultivated the bed of ideas, throwing out stones and stray roots. I’ve poured over research materials as if they were seed catalogs, each with their own versions of the standard offerings. I’ve studied maps, terrain, …

Choose a Setting You Love

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By H.L. Wegley Thirty-eight years ago, my wife and I and our three kids boxed up enough supplies for a week and headed for Lake Chelan in Central Washington, a glacier-fed lake, fifty-five miles long, nestled snugly between Cascade Mountain peaks. We rode the big boat, Lady of the Lake, and planned to camp in the wilderness, free from the …

Honor the Craft

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By Henry McLaughlin James Scott Bell posted a blog called Don’t Ever Mail It In where he wrote about the attitude that we’ve reached a certain point in our writing where we don’t have to improve. What struck me most is his definition of a real writer. It’s someone who honors the craft and never settles. In this blog, I’m …

Vacation, aka Book Marketing Research

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By Glynn Young My wife and I have been to England several times for vacation, but this time it was vacation with a book twist. Shortly before we left, I had finished a manuscript and turned it over to the publisher. The story is set in Britain and mostly London. But it was with a huge feeling of relief that …

Beyond Sense of Place

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by Gail Gaymer Martin Setting should be more than sense of place. It can add deeper meaning to your story by reflecting the theme or mood. It can enhance the plot with situations built into the setting that can foreshadow situations or problems. It can influence the character’s emotions and actions. When you begin your novel, ask yourself these questions: …

When the Reader Tastes the Salty Sea Spray

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By Leslie DeVooght Readers want to be transported and experience your characters’ world. Your setting should elicit an emotional response from your readers. To achieve this kind of intimacy with the place, a writer must visit the place. Setting isn’t just a location. In our first meeting, my fantastic writing coach Lindsey Bracket said, “you must evoke the island.” This …