Use Your Settings

Photograph by Tim Graham, Getty Images

“There was a little moon rushing through the clouds. Down below was the swirling water, for the tide was in, beating over the black rocks. Spray flew up on the wind, and Jack felt sure he could feel a little on his cheek, high though his room was. He licked his lips. They tasted deliciously salty.”  –from The Island of Adventure by Enid Blyton

That’s a segment of one of the first Enid Blyton books I ever read when I was a child. I recently discovered, in the back of Enid Blyton’s Adventure Treasury in a memoir by her daughter Gillian Baverstock, that Enid Blyton’s stay in Cornwall had inspired the setting for The Island of Adventure. The children in the story end up discovering secret passages in the cliffs, caves, and more as they explore the surroundings of two of the four children’s half-in-ruins home, Craggy Tops.

It makes for a fabulous setting, with plenty of room for finding any spectacular and exciting thing one can imagine. Craggy Tops and the Isle of Gloom are fictional, but Cornwall is as real as anything.

If you’re a writer, you probably live somewhere. And that somewhere may have much more to offer in what you can glean for your story than you might expect. I’ve discovered that I am still very inexperienced with character development–storywriting in general–but there’s something to be had in getting a knack out of the beauty of your setting.

The setting I’m familiar with, and is present in my co-created book Fish Out of Water, is more or less central Maryland.

IMG_20171020_174739For example, the Annapolis harbor is around. (Perhaps someone might find themselves on a boat ride they did not expect to some location full of surprises.)

IMG_20170816_193158In general, there’s water around, and I love it. I especially love this type of water, with trees lining the horizon. This is what Vivian, one of the two protagonists of Fish Out of Water, wakes up to in the beginning of the book (except it’s after-dawn, not sunset.)

Your setting doesn’t have to correspond exactly with where you live of course (although mine is central Maryland,) but you never know what possible events and characters might spring from the setting you live in!