Dear Reader Who Writes,
As ever it falls onto my shoulders to ensure you are aware whose words of wisdom you are imbibing from the breast of pedagogy. I am Moonbeam Farquhar Metheringham IV. My claim to a seat at the high table of the literary elite is rooted in my credentials as author of the science fiction and fantasy neo-classic “Fatswhistle and Buchtooth”. At one point, this work of incredible creativity achieved the giddy heights of Amazon’s one millionth on the bestseller charts. As such, you can rest assured I am indeed over-qualified to dispense guidance on how you can best write your own delightful fantasia.
I may have mentioned in passing that my father has long since gone to a better place. In truth I do not recall too much about my father. He was seldom at home even when he was still with us. But I do recall one conversation. I was still in shorts being a mere lad of seventeen, he sat me on his knee and grunted a bit, then told me: “Moony boy – you have to learn the facts of life. Fact One – life is a shit heap and only those at the top get to smell the sweet clean air. Fact Two – you only get to the top if you use the heads of others like a ladder. You got that son?”
At the time I had no idea of his meaning. I had little idea of what his job was either I had always believed he was some form of landscape gardener. After all what else should one think a hedge fund manager did all day? Tragically, before I had any opportunity to ask him to elucidate in depth, he was gone forever.
So whilst Mummy and I share a suburban semi-detached residence, he has gone to paradise. I think it is the Bahamas although it may be Bermuda – the pictures on Facebook are always very vague as he has no wish to alert the tax authorities to his present whereabouts.
Which brings me neatly to my topic for today.
How To Write A Book – Lesson 16: The Write Setting.
I can not express strongly enough how crucial it is to provide the precise and perfect backcloth against which to unfold your torpid little tale to transform it from mediocrity (or worse) to stella-luminescence in the literary sphere. Location. Location. Location.
Imagine for a moment if Robinson Crusoe had been set on an island near Tonbridge not Trinidad? Would ‘A Thousand and One Nights’ be as beguiling were the stories set in Swansea? These are things to ponder and as you do so, here is my list of questions to ask yourself when choosing the best locale for your literature.
- What is the weather like?
Vital as it determines your character’s style of dress!
- What is the geography like?
Vital as you need to know if the sea is nearby for a swim or if your characters will be hiking through mountains.
- Does everyone there speak English?
Best to avoid this location if not as you and your readers won’t understand anything.
- Does it have to be a real place?
One of the key advantages of writing science-fiction and fantasy, you can make up everything about the place to suit however you want it to be.
And that is pretty much it. Get those basics right and the rest will fall into place.
Until my next, oh disciples of Calliope!