Monday, July 8, 2013

Creating Atmosphere

As I prepared to edit novel #2 yesterday, I asked myself how to get back into the mood and atmosphere of the series I'm writing. It takes place in the six-hundred-year-old modern day medieval village of Sabrina Shores. Sabrina Shores is modeled after the real life medieval village of Shrewsbury, England.

I absolutely love Shrewsbury, having been there somewhere around 1990 on my first trip to Europe. When I sat down to write my first novel, Shrewsbury came back to me. The old pubs, the half-timbered buildings, the narrow ginnels and cobblestoned streets; all fit the atmosphere I was looking for when my sixteen-year-old American protagonist found herself orphaned with the sudden necessity for an English uncle willing to take her in. And what better place than a modern day medieval village teeming with ghosts to "show off" her special abilities?

And so I look at photographs of Shrewsbury to bring it all back and to inspire atmosphere as I write, and to disappear into the world I create...


Grope Lane, Shrewsbury.
(Aptly named way back in the day because groping was so prevalent).
This is the ginnel that Indigo was chased down by the dark shadow, right before she barreled into Badger. 

The Blind Badger in the market square, next to market hall. Picture a pub sign hanging out front.

 
 
The Market Hall in the Market Square (Shrewsbury/Sabrina Shores).
This is where Indigo met Cappy at a market stall.
 
 
 
This is where Indigo and Simon discovered they were being followed.
We walked along the damp, cobblestoned road, taking cover from the weather by sticking as close to the buildings as possible. The jettied half-timber beams leaned in to cast ancient shadows over us. Muted light shone from closed curtains, silhouettes passed back and forth behind them like shadow puppets. We didn’t have anything like this in the States. There was even a castle. The ancient architecture was a marvel, the same buildings standing upright in the same spot for hundreds of years. Nearly upright, anyway, because many leaned. I guessed that the sameness, or lack of change, must have been what kept so much of the spirit world tied there.
 
 
Shrewsbury Castle (aka Sabrina Castle).
 
 

The train station.
 
 
 
The park.
 
 
What do you use to inspire your writing?
 
Is your setting based on a real location or made up?
 

21 comments:

  1. What a beautiful place. So much personality.
    My books were set in real places - Greenville, SC, Atlanta, GA, Albuquerque, NM - all of which I'd visited before. ABQ was the most fun to write about.

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    1. My cousin lives in Albuquerque - it's a cool place.

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  2. Love the setting. And awesome you got to visit it. My first novel's setting is made up. My new one is part the town I live in and part made up.

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    1. Even though my setting is based on Shrewsbury, I still make stuff up to fit the story, too.

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  4. My settings are always made up, no real location at all.

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    1. It's nice that you can just make up the setting, Rachna. I find that the actual photos help me, though.

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  5. What a cool little town!
    My settings are made up although the Arizona desert did become the desert planet of Tgren.

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    1. I can totally see Arizona as a desert planet!

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  6. I'm similar to Rachna. You picked a great setting.

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    1. Thanks Sheena. My imagination just isn't good enough to make up the setting I needed on this one :)

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  7. Pictures can really be inspirational. THE CAGED GRAVES is based on a real cemetery and a real Pennsylvanian town, although I fictionalized parts of the setting when it suited me. I did look at old photographs of the town (and similar towns) in the 1860s while I was writing some scenes. It really helped me flesh out the setting.

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  8. Interestingly, gathering pictures can be very helpful. Since you've had a chance to visit the area your story is fictionalizing, it helps as you can recall the scents, the sights, the sounds of things all around you. Such a wonderful thing.

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  9. I went through Pinterest to find inspiration for my new planets and creatures. Images can really inspire me.

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  10. Looks wonderful there! Pictures can be extremely inspirational, I've looked back at some of my own when needed, too.

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  11. Oh, this is so incredibly lovely. My favorite photo is of the Market Hall, I can see many enchanted happenings right there in my mind's eye. Most of my settings are made up but strongly influenced by snippets of places I've lived and visited. And *feelings* of certain experiences in certain places. For instance, when I was a wild and crazy 18 year old living on my own for the first time, I'd often take long walks in the middle of the night through Kansas City. There's something eerie yet comforting about an empty, dark city (perhaps why I chose that photograph as my favorite!). Enough rambling. I wish you well with all your edits.

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  12. In Secondhand Shoes, I used the town I grew up in. Loved your pics.

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

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  13. Fabulous pictures. Thanks for sharing them! I used the Manitau Cliff Dwellings as inspiration for one of my novels. And a local swamp (Green Swamp in Florida) is the inspiration for my WIP.

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  14. so cool! i cant wait!

    and i know how it feels to be buried in the sand! novel out, but still so much to do! and find time to write next one!

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  15. Love the pics! It's fun to see the place that inspired your story. I love little English towns.

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  16. Hi Gwen,

    Just stopped by to let you know that you've won a prize for the Paying Forward Awards. Congrats! Please contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com to claim your prize.

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