SETTING THE STAGE III
“Prevailing Winds” often give more multi-dimensions to novels than any other element because of the effect they have on Characters, Setting and even the Plot. A favorite and sentimental example of this is the MARY POPPINS books and film(s). How could Nanny-extraordinaire, Mary Poppins, ever arrive to save the day if the winds of a storm hadn’t carried her to the Banks’ front stoop? Here are a few things to consider when developing you novel’s climate controlled environment—much research may be required.
Consider the Geography. Start with the setting of your opening chapter and learn everything you can—in detail—about that place. If it is in the mountains or in the deserts knowing the geography and topography of the land is very important. This will tell you where, when and how often storms, or famines might occur. If your location is on a coastline, learning about ocean currents might just provide the setting (and plot/character involvement) to keep your readers intrigued.
Talk with the Weather-persons. These folks have worked long and hard to study weather patterns and have become experts in the climate challenges of their specific locations. They are usually happy to share their expertise with writers (and it would be nice if their names are included in your acknowledgements). Their understanding of air masses that fluctuate with the “prevailing winds” will help you develop authentic settings for your Characters to maneuver through.
The Human Footprint. There is really no place on our planet that is not effected by some level of human, man-made geography, even if only as the result of air-currents bringing “particles” of something over and into a basically uninhabited area. This is often the most dramatic dimension of development within a setting which—in turn—provides high-level drama. A Google search of “places untouched by modern civilization” is a fascinating exploration into what is happening on our planet.
Research Most Dangerous (or Deadly) Storms and/or Earthquakes within the setting(s) of your story. Catastrophic events such as these can (and do) change the course of history. On March 11, 2011, a major earthquake hit Japan, followed by a tsunami that some say “reached around the world.” The Nation of Japan was dramatically and forever changed by this event. In 1991, a cyclone hit Bangladesh: death toll, 140,000 men, women and children. IF your setting is in China—in 1931—the Yangtze River flood caused great geographic and human loss (more than 850,000 people). What might your main characters have done in the midst of that?
On a more pleasant note, let’s fly back to Mary Poppins and her author, P.L. Travers. Her personal life climate and geography played an important role in her developing career as a writer. Near the end of World War II, she lived on a Navajo reservation in Arizona—quite a dramatic change from her environment in England or early life in Australia. However, each of those SETTINGS played an important part in the stories she imagined and wrote.
So it is that I leave you today with two thoughts: As an author, make sure that your writing environment is conducive to creativity, and research (carefully research) the locations where your characters walk. They will be leading you into SUCCESS as you complete your novel(s) and publish!
|ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene Doyle is a Ghostwriter with Outskirts Press, bringing more than 35 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their writing projects. She has worked with both experienced and fledgling writers helping complete projects in multiple genres. When a writer brings the passion they have for their work and combines it with Royalene’s passion to see the finished project in print, books are published and the writer’s legacy is passed forward.|