The story’s location offers it a platform on which to build. If your tale takes place at sea, the sun, wind and water probably influence the action and play an important role. If you’re writing about a crime that occurs in a high rise on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, it would most likely have a very different feel than if you were describing a crime in an abandoned West Side warehouse filled with rats and vermin.
I like to make my locations an integral part of the voice. Blending the setting into the narrative helps me build in details in a subliminal way. For me, it’s more about the atmosphere that these details create than the details themselves. Placing a character in a certain location that feels real and familiar can raise a reader’s expectations for that character to behave in a particular manner, which I can exploit, or use to play against type to create something unexpected.
Recently, I’ve been working on a book that takes place in various neighborhoods of New York City, where I’ve lived and worked my whole life. I’ve also just finished a book that ends in Monte Carlo, where I’ve never visited and internet research had to suffice. In both cases, my goal was to make the sights, sounds and mood of these cities combine seamlessly to create an environment that draws the reader in and lets them connect
in a “Yeah, I know that place.” kind of way. Or at least I hope so.
How about you? Where are you setting your next story or book? Is it somewhere familiar to you, or somewhere new?
Visit me at www.cathistoler.com. Look for an excerpt of my new novel,
KEEPING SECRETS and check in on my latest news and events.