I am thrilled to be hosting Patricia Wilson on my blog today. Her newest release – a debut novel – “The Island of Secret”, has one of the most gorgeous and promising synopsis and with so many 5* reviews I am sure it’s going to be an excellent read! On my stop today I have a little teaser for you – an extract from the book. Enjoy!
‘Writing about locations’
Location is the gift-wrapping of a story. When you set the scene, you also set the mood, and hint at the drama and tension that will follow. A sensitive description of a scene’s location presents the ambiance that surrounds the action, drama, and emotion.
Location is more than scene setting, it should involve as many of the senses as possible, sight, sound, smells, and even touch. Trying to avoid the use of clichés can be difficult. The turquoise water, cobalt sky, and lashing rain, are all over used, but occasionally still have their place.
If you can’t go to your story’s location, use YouTube, google earth, tourist information and travel books to soak up the topography and atmosphere.
When it is possible, there is nothing to compare with actually visiting the scene in your novel and absorbing every element of the surroundings. However, the location does more than describe where we are, it also mirrors the action. Ugly back allies are the places where dastardly deeds take place. Beautiful beaches await happy families. Candle-lit restaurants are filled with romantic couples. Breaking with these, and similar, expectations can increase tension and unpredictability in a novel, thereby keeping the reader hooked.
Background people can also accessorise the location. Physical traits of the ‘extras’ in a scene can add much to the image and mood picked up by the reader. Nothing beats physically spending some time in your novels location. Take a pen, a notebook, and a camera. Video if possible to capture the noise too. Jot down the smells. Eavesdrop. Go through all these things when writing the drama that happens in that same location.
Strengthen the location descriptions once your story is down. Start with the strongest aspect, expand with lesser images. That way, the reader is fixed in the location from the off. The stink of the fish market, rather than, the market stinks of fish.
Keep the reader informed as to where they are, close to the start of a new scene. Jog the reader’s memory with a few words, occasionally, and this is where your extras come in useful. A sweating bartender smears beer stains on a chipped granite counter. A uniformed bartender flicks a pristine white cloth before polishing champagne flutes. Just refresh our memory.
Let the reader sense the atmosphere. The smoke, loud music, greasy wine glass, men squeezing past, body odour, flowery perfume. The location puts us in the mood for scenes that follow.
Describe the location as if writing flash fiction. Keep it strong and evocative. Make every word count, and don’t forget to bring in some contrasts to grab, and hold on to, the reader’s attention.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Patricia Wilson lives in the village of Amiras in Crete where the book is set. She was inspired to write when she unearthed a machine gun in her garden – one used in the events that unfolded in September 1943, and much of the novel is based on real stories told to her by the oldest women of Amiras. Women who’ve never spoken of their experiences before. This is her debut novel. #IslandofSecrets