Girls Write Out
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
One of my favorite parts of writing is making sure my reader is fully immersed in the WHERE of my story. Details make all the difference in this area. Just how very different things can be in another state was brought home to me when we visited Boston. I'd seen my friend Kate at say "wicked" on Twitter. She's say things like she was "wicked excited" to read my new book, for example. I thought it was just an adorable idiosyncrasy. But no. When I went to CBD in March, I heard it around. It's a common term up there. Cute, isn't it? And of course there was lots of seafood restaurants and all that history. It totally got my story juices flowing!

No, this picture isn't of Boston. it's Kauai of course, from our last visit in early March. Hawaii and Boston are both on the water but what a world of difference. In Hawaii the water sports are centered around diving, snorkeling, sunning, and just enjoying the beautiful beaches. In Boston, I heard more about fishing and lobstering, watermen type professions. Loved it! And the history of course is very different and that plays into the type of people you have in the different states.

I always try to visit a place before I write about it for this very reason. How about you? If you're working on a book right now (or just finished one) what was the thing that surprised you the most about the locale where you set your novel? I'll go first. I'm working on Rosemary Cottage (Tidewater Inn ships in about 6 weeks, yay!) and they are set in the Outer Banks. I've been to other places on the Atlantic like Myrtle Beach so I was expecting lots of golf and miniature golf and a ton of tourists and crowds. But the Outer Banks is very different. I was surprised how windy it is. And there are kites everywhere! Children flying kites and people kiteboarding. And there are wild horses (bankers) that run free there. We went to Ocracoke and loved it. My little town of Hope Beach is patterned after Ocracoke. It wasn't as packed (of course we were there in late April) and it was beautiful and quant. We loved it!

So now it's your turn. What telling detail can you bring into your novel in a way that helps set the reader in your story?
Colleen Coble  
posted at 7:00 AM  
  Comments (4)
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At 2:14 PM, Blogger Natalia Gortova said...

It's so tempting to cheat when you're writing, and just look at a guidebook. But you really do the reader a disservice. There's no way to get across the feel of a place if you haven't been there (or don't know someone else who has).

Great advice. I love the imagery in this post.

Natalia Gortova (Today I'm featuring author Sarah Witenhafer)

At 7:20 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

That's exactly right, Natalie! Without going to Hawaii, I never would have known there were wild chickens running everywhere!

At 9:30 PM, Blogger Ruth Smith said...

I loved your Hawaii especially how each one was a different locale but you tied them together through the family. My best friend lived on the Big Island - had to return to the mainland due to divorce and not being able to afford living there. She and her children loved spending a lot of time at the volcano so we had a lot to talk about when I read the first book and subsequent books.

At 12:27 PM, Blogger Candi Sue said...

My novel is set among the wild blueberry barrens of Machias, Maine. My husband and I went there last year for our anniversary and I know that I could never portray the landscape without seeing it in person first. The Internet pictures are beautiful, but don't do full justice. If you've never been there, Maine is something to see. It's definately different from what I'm used to here in Indiana!

I highly enjoy your books, Colleen. Denise is one of my favorites, also. You both do a great job with setting and pulling the reader in. Reading Smitten had me searching for Kristin and Diann's books as well. You girls keep up the good work!


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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