Daddy's Christmas Angel

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Settings Mean A Lot

Key West Sunset - Sikes photo 
It surprised me when the list owner of one of the romance groups to which I belong told me that a blog about the Hemingway House did not relate to romance writing. For me, it does. After all, Ernest Hemingway wrote in one of the most inspiring settings I have seen. Maybe his books cannot be classified as romances, but looking out a wall of windows (as he did from his writing studio) into a tropical setting invites the imagination to go wild in a myriad of directions. At least, it invites mine.

"Imagination is more important than knowledge," Albert Einstein once said.

Imagine that! A man of his brilliance knew the importance of imaginative inspiration. The idea must first grow in the mind before anything can be created.

The idea for the painting comes before the blank canvas can be filled. Even if it begins only with a spattering of paint. We have to decide to spatter and where.

The ideas for a novel comes as characters grow inside our heads. I think they grow more easily when we have an amazing and inspiring setting like Hemingway found in Key West and later on in Cuba, another tropical location.

Settings inspire writers and artists. They inspire romance. Settings mean a lot.

Mary Montague Sikes


Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Good blog--and it definitely makes one think. Even when I make up settings, they are based on real settings that I know about and can see in my imagination.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

What does that list owner know anyway?

Monti said...

Thanks, Marilyn!

Alex, she wouldn't post my message about the blog on the list despite my explanation to her. Oh, well...


Annabelle Ambrosio said...

I think the setting is so important and what more inspiring place than Hemingway's local. I like to "feel" the location when I write and so usually write about places I've lived in or visited.

Helen Ginger said...

Setting do contribute greatly to a book. Authors sometimes forget that.

N. R. Williams said...

I agree...settings are critical. they help the reader identify with the character and they help define the character as well. After all, if you character loves living in the tropics they will be uncomfortable in a Minnesota winter. But a Minnesota character would probably love visiting the tropics but may not enjoy living there. For me, it's Colorado all the way, baby,
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Patricia Stoltey said...

For me, setting is like another character in my story. I love that sense of place to ground the characters and the plot.

<a href=">Patricia</a>

Patricia Stoltey said...

Oops, I was trying to follow my own instructions and do the signature link from memory. Sorry to experiment on you, Monti, but here I go again:


Diana Cosby said...

So true, setting cultivates inspiration. Many times when I wrote scenes set at sea, I'd drive down to sit on the shore and write as the waves crashed in. Thank you for your blog on this topic. :) Wishing you a fabulous summer! *Hugs*


Vanessa A. Johnson said...

Mary, lovely blog and I so agree with you. Thanks for sharing. I'll have to drop in more often so your intersting muses.

Monti said...

Thanks to everyone for your blog comments. I hope I can start writing a blog a day like many of you already are doing!


BillieJohn said...

I agree that setting is so important in gives us a chance to "travel" without leaving home!

Also, if you recall the classic PEYTON PLACE, the town really does become a character. I have gone back and re-read that novel several times, just to see how she did it...very smart writing.

Billie Johnson,
Oak Tree Press

Marian Allen said...

I agree that settings mean a lot! The African Queen? Anne of Green Gables? Could Dr. Zhivago have been the same book set anywhere else? And as for romance books--one of my favorites, ROSES FROM A HAUNTED GARDEN, had to be set in Hawaii!

Marian Allen

Stephen Tremp said...

Setting is important. I use actual establishments, visit them, eat the food off the menus and drink the same tap beer my characters do.

Stephen Tremp

Monti said...

Wow, Stephen, you really get into it. That's great!

Marian, I love that title--Roses from a Haunted Garden. I haven't read that. Who's the author?


Marian Allen said...

ROSES FROM A HAUNTED GARDEN is by Jean Francis Webb. Here's a link to it on Amazon: I don't read a lot of Romances or Westerns, but the ones I choose because of back blurbs and random paragraph samplings have never failed to satisfy! It really ticks me off when somebody dismisses a genre because they've read a bad example. I've read bad examples of just about all genres--AND literary and mainstream! Good writing is good writing, IMO. Period.

Marian Allen

Sylvia Dickey Smith said...

l like the new look! Lighter and brighter!

Sylvia Dickey Smith