“Her stories are all about place.”
I have been looking forward to the Genre-istas May blogoversary for months. To celebrate, we are hosting International writers and sharing what makes locale so special. Those who know me will realize why I have been so excited; I love writing about place. And my most special place is Italy. It got a brief cameo in my last novel, UNTANGLING THE KNOT, and claims the entire setting for my next one. Place is so important to my writing that it is even in my tagline, Journeys Inspired by Love.
What is it about place that inspires me as a reader and a writer? It feels colorful to me, filled with food, and scenery and accents and architecture. The light is different in each location (think Picasso on the Riviera). The color of food is unique to place. I visualize the reds of pasta and wine in Italy versus the earth tones of spices in Morocco. All of these things can be used to show, rather than tell, about the place.
Of course there is also accent or language, and in this authors are cautioned to be careful. I recently read a fantastic guest post on Kristen Lamb’s blog, discussing dialogue. In it the guest, Les Edgerton, reveals the challenges of writing great dialogue. One of these pitfalls is when the words selected actually pull the reader from the story and remind them they are reading. Some examples of this are: overuse of a single word, like an endearment, using dialogue tags other than said, and overuse of a foreign language or local slang. I can recognize myself in this last one as I had to edit 40 Brilliants (said by my British hero) out of my current manuscript (and p.s. foreign language always goes in italics; just f.y.i.).
Since all of these things, and more, make up an authentic international story, May will be a great month to ask questions of our guest bloggers who might have advice on the scent of their foods, the color of their sky, the sound of their traffic and alternate words to use for describing when something is really fantastic.