January 28, 2012

The Setting: Charleston

Eudora Welty once said, "Every story would be another story, and unrecognizable if it took up its characters and plot and happened somewhere else... Fiction depends for its life in place. Place is the crossroads of circumstance, the proving ground of, What happened? Who's here? Who's coming?" And, I couldn't agree more.

The setting of a story is crucial. Not only is it the place -- the sights, sounds and colors -- all around the characters, but details in a setting can reveal so much about a character's personality. If you describe a modern home with minimal aesthetics the reader will automatically associate this with a certain personality, maybe glamorous or maybe cold. The setting can also create a mood - a damp, foggy forest at night will create a mysterious and potentially ominous situation and will immediately put your reader in a certain mind set.

The decision of the setting for a novel, especially one that never leaves one town, is huge, but not necessarily difficult. For me, picking Charleston was easy. I LOVE Charleston! I've spent time there every year since I was born and it really is like a second home to me. The people are amazing, the culture is fantastic, the history is rich and don't even get me started on the food... and the beach! But, I also wanted my characters to interact with Charleston differently -- not just go gaga for it like me. For Tristan, the history of the city is most important. For Kira, learning about the culture was key. And I felt like Luke fit in perfectly with the relaxed vibe.

High schools across the country have their similarities and the fantasy world is in many ways an alternate reality, so not all the scenes are completely dependent on a real-life place. But, there were a few scenes in particular where Charleston and South Carolina were very central, and I wanted to revisit those places with a few photos so people could envision the scenes in a new way. So, here goes!

1. Folly Beach

Folly Beach set the perfect mood for Kira and Tristan's first intimate interaction -- a little bit fun and a little bit dangerous. Here are some photos of the surf town:

Photo Courtesy of Locale
Photo Courtesy of Luxury Land And Homes
Photo Courtesy of Charleston Preferred Properties

And, a surfing video! (This really is from Folly Beach) 

Folly Beach 12-15-09 from Jewell&Ginnie on Vimeo.

2. Charleston City

Another great location for Kira and Tristan -- first kiss, anyone? I loved the idea of the secluded and secret tower, and the city of Charleston is magical in its own right!

Battery Park - Photo Courtesy of American English Circle
Expensive Houses Along the Battery - Photo Courtesy of tripadvisor
Horse and Buggy in the Market with St. Philips Cathedral in Background - Photo Courtesy of AOL Travel
St. Philips Cathedral (I couldn't find a view from the steeple) - Photo Courtesy oBill Read

3. Ashley River

The Ashley River was the perfect setting for Kira and Tristan's relationship to grow. I think people let themselves go a little more and feel freer in open spaces, so I thought the almost magical beauty would help Tristan finally open up to Kira. 

Photo Courtesy of SCIWAY
Photo Courtesy of locountry.com
Photo Courtesy of NSBP

So, there are a few of my favorite spots in Charleston and a few of the spots that had a big influence on my plot. The other main setting within the Charleston overhang were the woods, which may just get their own post in the future. 


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