Monday, July 11

Setting, situation, scene...repeat?

There are things I use a lot in writing. Settings, situations, scenes. Not in every book, but often enough that I notice and--once or twice--a reader or critique partner has noticed, too.

For instance, there's the shopping scene. I have been dinged for this. "What's the deal with the shopping?" I don't have a clue what the "deal" is, but most of my protagonists buy food, clothing, or something else at some point in the book. They usually talk to the cashier, meet someone in the parking lot, or carry the things they've purchased into the house within the scene. This could explain why my editor says, "Pacing, Liz," to me with unfortunate frequency. Pacing isn't something I've perfected.

Then there's the cemetery. I can explain this one, sort of. In the first place, I like cemeteries. In the second, it's a good place to deepen (sorry for the pun) relationships. Characters take flowers there they've picked from the neighbor's flowerbeds. They mourn together or they talk with deceased loved ones there. They might not get the answers they seek--not everyone is spiritual in that way--but they often ask questions. 



Kitchens. If my people didn't have kitchens, I couldn't write. If they didn't drink coffee, I couldn't write. If there was no island or table in the middle of the kitchen, I couldn't write. If there was no window over the sink, I couldn't write. Perhaps this is because I write small-town and rural and that's where we do a lot of our living. Or maybe it's just because I like kitchens.



The houses in my stories always have importance. I have several house plans books so that I can make them real. I love houses so much that my friend Judith Palmer has embroidered gifts for me with houses on them, I decorate for Christmas with a village of them, and on any shelf in my house or office, you will find the occasional house of one kind or another. My heroines have been able to find safety in houses that has eluded them in relationships.



Do you have situations or places that repeat from story to story? Share them with us and explain why you write them. Wranglers are curious!

Have a great week.

Liz 

20 comments:

  1. Awww, my houses...they always, always remind me of you. Thanks for a great post, Liz. Keep writing your small town/rural stories. They speak to the heart of many readers.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great post, Liz! My characters usually hit a grocery store at some point because we all have to eat, right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, exactly, and the aisles are such a great place for conversation.

      Delete
  3. Beauty shops. They're a great place for gossip, and that overheard tidbit might just move the plot along.

    ReplyDelete
  4. To go along with your cemeteries I will include a funeral. Funerals are where families and friends gather and stories are told.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right, Carolyn. When I wrote about a funeral in One More Summer, I swore I'd never do it again, but I have. They're definitely draining for the writer, though--or I think they should be if they're going to affect the reader.

      Delete
  5. I'm just going to say Great Post! and leave it there because I'm continuing this theme tomorrow. Thanks, Liz!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Excellent post, Liz! I like to include at least one Greek restaurant in each of my novels.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think restaurants are a big part of all my stories. Well, people discuss many things over meals, don't they? I've never been called out on it though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like restaurant scenes if for no other reason that I still love Betty Neels books, where they eat all the way through--I enjoyed every meal with them. :-)

      Delete
  8. For me, the kitchen table is the hub of the home. All things are discussed and all decisions are made there. Same goes for my characters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. I did discover that after remodeling and putting an island in my kitchen, all my books have islands instead of tables. Fancy that. :-)

      Delete
  9. Great post, Liz! Nothing repetitive about your favorite settings... they are just part of life :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Ava. Yeah, favorite parts, most of them!

      Delete
  10. Coffee. That's probably my common denominator. Of course, our world revolves around Starbucks, so maybe that's why. LOL Good post--good food for thought.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Margie. I always have coffee, too, and usually beer and/or wine.

      Delete