I’ve been thinking a lot about story settings lately. Building a setting, I think, is nearly as much fun as creating characters and a storyline.
With each Madison Creek story, the lakeside Michigan town grows with more details, such as the park down near the end of Main Street where everyone gathers for events and festivals. It’s near the city hall buildings, and you can see the lake from the gazebo.
Or the view of Main Street that now has a flourishing business in nearly every storefront. I’ve loved watching this town grow and have needed to create a somewhat messy map to keep up with everything. I included a picture below, those it’s not the greatest.
This week, I’ve been working on revising my Kindle World Sweet Grove stories. As you may have heard, Kindle Worlds closed down and now we’ve been given our book rights back. I really enjoyed writing Love’s Mercy and Love’s Harmony and wished to keep the Lavender Vales Farm series going. So I needed to revise both books, setting them in a new town with new businesses. Thus, Thistle, Texas has come into existance, settled in the Hill Country somewhere between Fredricksburg and Austin.
I began seeing one of those one street Texas towns that’s surrounded by miles and miles of country. You might find a couple of off streets with a few businesses and a lot of churches. Sometimes more churches than anything else in some towns.
In Thistle, there’s a restaurant called the Tilting Pancake that serves meals all day but is famous (far as small mom and pop restaurants go) for their buttermilk and fruit pancakes.
Thistle, it turns out is also where Haley Madison’s sister, Lexie Hamilton, is from. Small world, isn’t it? ha.
But it gets better because there’s a new series developing in my crazy mind that takes place about fifteen miles from Thistle (The new location of Faye and Chase’s Lavender Vale Farm) that will be the setting for a new series called Tinkertown Texas. And oh boy, wait until you hear about Tinkertown. I’m going to have a lot of fun with that place… but I’m getting ahead of myself and I don’t want to give away any surprises.
I also create fantasy worlds– if you didn’t know, I also write inspirational fantasy stories, but you’d need to visit my website to read more about that if it sounds interesting. World building is something I really enjoy doing.
What I’ve learned, is that building a strong setting is just as important as building interesting characters. I take a lot of time when creating places where my stories take place. I draw maps. Not great maps, but they work for me. Ha. I develope towns, businesses, landforms, ect. I usually start doing that before, if not while developing my characters and outlines.
It’s fun. Like when I was a little kid playing with my plastic farm or wild animal packets. You know those bags of plastic figures you could buy at the grocery store for real cheap? I’d want to hurry home and race out into the backyard where I’d spend hours building homes for those little animals out of sticks, rocks, and dirt. So much fun.
I’ve not grown up all that much if you can’t tell. I still enjoy building places and worlds for my little character figures.
So, how about you? Where do you enjoy having stories set? A beach resort? A big bustling city? A small rural town? I’ll enjoy hearing your thoughts on this matter. Perhaps there’s a special place you once read about that has stuck with you? Care to share where that place is?
And come to visit my website when you get a chance to find out about the story worlds being built there. More from Madison Creek and Lavender Vale Farm will be included soon.
www.jackiecastle.com – hope to see you around my Story World.