The Place to Be, A Place to See

Do you ever read a book or see a movie and want to be there? I don’t mean in the midst of the storyline or entangled in the drama of the characters. I mean, do you read a description or see a sweeping vista and lose track of the story for a moment because you’re so caught up by the setting?

Often, when I read a novel, I find myself skipping over grandiose descriptions of a setting, unless it feels integral to the story. Often, it doesn’t. The same as descriptions of clothing, or what someone is eating – unless it’s a supernatural story and the meal is some unwilling victim. 😉 In the movies, the setting is more obvious and noticeable and I am more inclined to be swept away by something I see in a movie. In either case, sometimes, I come across a setting that I haven’t before and I find I want to visit that place.

Of course, my travel experiences are pretty limited. I’ve been to several places in my native country, of course. I’ve been to a few spots in the US as well, but I’ve never ventured beyond North America.

Let’s see if I can remember some settings from movies and books I’ve seen or read. There’s the big blockbusters, like The Lord of the Rings series. How beautiful were those settings? I know I’m not the only one who wants to visit New Zealand because of the way it was shown in the movies. Of course, I understand it won’t look like Middle Earth when I go there. 🙂 All the same, it seems like a lovely place to go.

My favorite movie, Anna and the King, takes place in Siam (Thailand now, obviously) but as far as I know, that movie was not filmed there. The same goes for movies like Legends of the Fall or the Twilight series. Lucky for me, they were filmed at Canadian locales. Actually, Legends of the Fall was filmed about a 45 minute drive from where I live now. And it really is that beautiful there. 😉

In books, I read a lot of historical fiction, which is wonderful for rich, diverse settings, but how can you visit those places? Oh sure, I can read The Da Vinci Code and take a tour that would cover all the places Dan Brown described in his novel. But what about Tasha Alexander’s novels, which take place in Victorian era England and Europe? I’d love to visit some of the same places she talks about, Greece, London, Constantinople… But wait, isn’t Constantinople gone? LOL, ok, I know it’s not gone but you can’t tell me those places haven’t changed in the last 125 years.

I have recently read most of a series of novels written by Sherrilyn Kenyon, called the Dark-Hunter series. A lot of them take place in and around New Orleans. She’s very good at describing a setting in enough detail that I’m able to picture it, without being bogged down by too much description. She makes me interested in seeing the city firsthand. There’s also the Dresden Files, by Jim Butcher, that mostly take place in Chicago. He’s another write who manages to describe a place without making me want to skip those paragraphs.

I like to think I can manage to do the same thing in my own stories and novels. Often though, I’m writing about a city that I’ve never been to, like New York or Washington D.C. or Denver. I keep those descriptions purposefully vague, because I don’t know what they’re really like. In my TAITS novels, I get into a little more detail because I have been to those places. Calgary is my city and I’ve spent time in Victoria, Charlottetown and even Sarasota, Florida. I hope I can balance the feeling I’ve had from being in those places without boring the reader with unnecessary details. I don’t know if I’ve been successful, or if I’ve ever made someone want to visit a place because of what I’ve written.

Anyway, I really just wanted to let you all know that I’ll be leaving on vacation in a couple of weeks. There will be a Sunday or two when I probably won’t be posting because I’ll be enjoying some warm southern weather, a wonderful contrast to the f****** snow we’ve had here over the weekend. Seriously, what is the deal?!?! Even for Southern Alberta, that was unusual weather for yesterday. All right, enough whining from me. I hope you’re all doing well and enjoying your weekends, wherever you are. Aaah, yes, and there’s a hockey game on now. 😀

Take care and happy reading.



Filed under Writing

4 responses to “The Place to Be, A Place to See

  1. I know exactly what you mean. I still ache to be in some of the scenes from the Pride and Prejudice movie! The scenery just looked so incredible! 🙂

  2. blue

    i’ve wanted to visit scotland from watching braveheart and also ireland because of leap year…i agree LOTR made me want to go see NZ as well…so many beautiful places to visit on this earth hopefully i get to see them in this lifetime 🙂

  3. Lady Falcon

    I desperately want to get out a map of England and mark all the “estates” of the characters in Stephanie Laurens “Cynster Family world”. The books take place in the late 18th & early 19th centuries. I lived in England for a couple years when I was in high school and got to see some amazing places but I hadn’t discovered Miss Stephanie at that point.

    You’ve read Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series! OMG! If you ever want to get all fan-atic about it please send me an email. She is one of my favorite authors and that series is my favorite! All those glorious troubled alpha men and wonderfully strong but slightly flawed women! Tabitha rocks! I so want to go see her shop. And Acheron….oh baby! I never wanted to be on the back of a bike so bad in my life. lol And my favorite book of all in the series was “Night Play” with Bride and Vane. I identify so much with Bride its ridiculous. “I’ll don my camouflage and so you just how human I am.” giggling…I love her!

    Have a wonderful vacation and enjoy the warmer weather. If you are as far south as South Carolina stop in for some hospitality! We can drink sweet tea with some fresh mint from my garden and watch the hummingbirds dive bomb each other to protect their favorite flowers.

  4. Nic

    It happens often. I like architecture, and I like art. So a tour of all the places mentioned in the Da Vinci Code would be right up my alley. Or those mentioned in Angels and Demons. Especially since I live in the southern hemisphere, and my knowledge of places like that are limited to what I read in novels or see in movies.

    Usually after seeing or reading something like that, I end up looking everything up on Wikipedia (and then end up with 10+ tabs from clicking more and more links on the page).

    Two other places I’ve looked up are the Hatley Castle, which was used as a location in both X-men (the school for the gifted children) and as Lex Luthor’s home in Smallville, as well as all the estates used as locations in Pride and Prejudice (the one with Keira Knightley).

    I’ll basically look up anything that catches my interest in a book or a movie, that I know little of. But reading something like “.. and she was wearing a Laura Ashley gown in a muted grey….” doesn’t interest me at all. I wouldn’t know a Laura Ashley from a Vera Lang, even if you threw it at me.

    And then obviously some places, like New Orleans’ French Quarter. It’s very difficult to imagine a place like that, even if you Google for photos. You end up adding it to that little list in your mind of places you’d like to go and things you’d like to do.

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