Skip to main content

NaNoWriMo - Settings and Locations: Part One - Buildings

Monday 4th November 2019 – Settings and Locations: Part One - Buildings

A sense of place is imperative in a story.  After all, we all love to belong.  This is the first of three blogs on the theme of Settings and Locations, and this one will be looking at buildings.
This is the trickiest blog I’ve written so far, mostly because this is an enormous topic, and there’s so much to cram into one blog!

Wanderford Hall was an ancient building of stone, lined internally with brightly polished wooden panels. The floor was made of thick wooden boards that had been reclaimed from the destruction of the Catholic church in the village some two hundred years earlier. The entrance hall was overlooked by an enormous painting of the Battle of Bosworth Field, in which his ancestor had fought. Its very presence stood contrary to his father’s puritanical beliefs, but he had been unwilling to paint over it and lose a part of his heritage. The wooden staircase radiated with the shine of beeswax, and it was this smell that Fotherby inhaled as he closed his eyes, transported over the two decades of his life here.
~ from “Beneath Black Clouds and White”
Buildings play a large part of nearly every story.  One of our favourite books at Crowvus HQ is Lucy Boston’s Children of Green Knowe – it’s read every Christmas! – and the house, Green Knowe, is as much a main character as any of the people.  What your characters perceive of a building will have an impact on their emotions, and they’ll probably have preconceived ideas about the people who live in certain houses.

Buildings add something to their landscape.  Whitewashed coastal houses, brick terraces of northern industrial towns, or stone bothies tucked into Highland landscapes.  These all transport readers to, not only a location, but an emotional relationship with those who use or live in these buildings.

And it’s not only the outsides!  What about an open fire in a stone chimney, the flames reflecting from wooden-panelled walls?  Or a white leather sofa camouflaged against a clinical, glossed wall?  Cosy?  Clean?  Cluttered?  There are too many fantastic words which happily describe both buildings and personalities.  It’s not surprising, then, that a building’s ambiance can often impact on our own!

Here are a few things to think about when you write about buildings:

  • Have a look at your time and location – if you are in an area built on granite, it’s unlikely old buildings would be in brick.
  • Think about the different styles of building – we live in a stone house which has walls about two feet deep, but our last house (which was made of brick) had walls half that depth.
  • Both the outward and internal appearance of buildings have an impact on our emotions.  That’s why black castles with tall thin turrets and finials are always used as the bad guy’s lair in films.
  • Buildings can be personified – another great example of this is Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast series, the castle is viewed as a character in its own right.
  • Buildings give opportunities to people – Write your buildings so the reader can’t help but imagine themselves in front of them, eager to learn what they hold in store for the characters...


Popular posts from this blog

#IndieApril - Christopher Aggett

Our fourth Indie Hero is well deserving of the title. Not only is he a successful author in his own right, he also spends much of his time helping other authors on the Writing Community Chat Show. I have often seen authors asking for publicity and yet not giving back in return. Not Christopher! His Community Chat Show is a perfect way to give back to the #WritingCommunity

Thanks, Christopher!

Deep: the Climb of Truth

"It was hard to imagine my father as anything other than that to me, I couldn't think of him as a killer" A young woman named Dee steps into a world of discovery and fear. Having been brought up isolated from civilisation she is separated from her father and her so-called home. She sets out on a journey through a world of danger and mystery; risking everything to stay alive and reunite with her father Eli. Eli who leads a secret life, entwined in dark and dangerous military experiments that threaten human existence.
"This book had me gripped from the b…

"Through Time to London" by Brindy Wilcox

What started as a normal day for Brandy & Brinkley changed beyond anything they dreamed of when Jed visited. The two spaniels were used to having little adventures every time they left the house, but nothing prepared them for that morning. 
1665 London was a dangerous place for dogs, so when the two brothers found themselves suddenly in the middle of the plague-ridden city it was a race against time to escape the clutches of the street dogs, the perils of the rats and the dangers of the dogcatchers. 
Would they be able to survive in their new surroundings and would they be able to find their way back to the safety of their own home?
Through Time to London is the first in a series that follows the adventures of Brandy and Brinkley, two time-travelling Cavalier Spaniels, who are met with new challenges in their search for the way home.

Firstly, I love dogs! I have a spaniel - a cheeky Sprocker by name of Orlando - so I love reading and hearing about the adventures of other dogs, fiction…

Book Tour - Total Blueprint for World Domination by Jolene Stockman

It's great to part of this book's journey!

When my parents bought me my sewing machine many years ago, the gift tag read "believe in your ability and this will become your best friend" or something to that ilk. This book reminded me a little of that - it gives you the matter-of-fact motivational speech needed by some many youngsters.

"Total Blueprint for World Domination" is an inspirational book for young people. Young people need to think big, and believe in themselves, and this book certainly helps with that!

There are motivational speeches and activities gallore. Some of the activities have been seen before, but others are new to me. Occasionally, books heap activities onto the reader like nobody's business, but this book gets it just right. Not too many, and not too few. The reader is left feeling like they can take part without worrying about the time!

And did I mention the graphics? The design of the book is eye catching and, in itself, inspirat…