is for Setting.
Stories, settings, sagas, and my 2nd book, Secret Keepers, all start with the Sacred letter S. I love writing Stories, and pondering different Settings. In Secret Keepers, my main character, Suvi (another S word), heads back to Israel, hoping to draw danger away from her fiancee, James, in Boise, Idaho.
Settings are much easier to write about if you’ve at least been there. I spent time in Israel in 1989, so these pictures are quite old, but they give you a feel for that historic land, and the Settings I used for Scenes in my book.
There is a Scene with Suvi and James out on the balcony of the Brigham Young University Jerusalem Center. The view from this Spot is Spectacular. It overlooks the old walled city of Jerusalem and the Dome of the Rock. The floor to ceiling windows with the outside arches frame the view like pieces of art. It gave me goosebumps every time I looked out from here.
Jerusalem is full of examples of modern and ancient. When I came across these Muslim sheepherders moving their herd across a paved road, it brought a Smile to my face. I love the guy in the back trying to shove them off the road (a car was coming).
Suvi spends a few months hiding on a kibbutz in the area of the Galilee. This was probably one of my most favorite spots in all of Israel.
In another Scene, Suvi takes James to the Western Wall of the ancient Jewish temple (near the Moslem’s Dome of the Rock). This spot in the Old City was always crowded, but my friends and I visited often. It was mesmerizing to watch faithful Jews pray here. The intensity of the Hasidic Jews fascinated me, as did seeing armed Israeli soldiers walking around keeping their eyes out for trouble. Once, we were evacuated and watched from afar as a robot came in and blew up a purse that was unclaimed. The Israeli’s don’t mess around with security. They just blow it up if it’s suspicious (and with good cause).
This Garden Tomb is about a half block outside the Old City walls. It’s very congested around it, with a loud Arab bus station right next door, but somehow, it still was a very serene, peaceful place where I loved to ponder Christ’s Sacrifice and Triumph over Death. Suvi loves this spot too in my book.
As a writer, you don’t always have to go to the places you write about…but it’s more fun and easy to write about if you do. With the internet and imagination, you can create a good Setting for a place you haven’t visited, but it’s a little harder (as I’m learning with book 3 as I take my characters to Lexington, Kentucky and Indiana…if you live there or have been there, can I pick your brain?). Thankfully though, I had experience to draw on for Israel…the unique smells, the bustle of sweaty, olive-skinned crowds, the cacophony of cars, and the sounds of haggling.
What about you? Do you only use Settings of places you’ve been to in your writing…or do you mix in places you haven’t been as well? Have you ever created a Setting that is pure fantasy? (I did in 4th grade–the planet McGool; the creatures from there were quite unique; I had more fun creating my setting than a plot–ha ha!).
Now to reward my faithful followers for putting up with daily posts in April, you may go to Smashwords and enter this code to get Secret Keepers FREE Today: JL94H. All I ask is for your honest review on Amazon afterward (and Goodreads and Smashwords if you’d like to go the extra mile).