As authors we understand it is essential to create realistic settings for our mystery novels. Setting is one of the elements that enables readers to imagine their way into a story. Physical characteristics of a place might include urban or suburban backgrounds, weather, season, time of day, flora and fauna among other elements. How can an author produce these elements of setting? My solution has always been to visit the place in which I set my stories. Not only do I visit the places I take lots of photographs. I try to include myself in the photos because I may want to use them later at book events. Readers like to know authors write from a position of knowledge when they describe settings.Here are some examples of photos I used to write accurate setting in my latest novel, “Murder on the Seine.”
Grace, one of my main characters, experienced vertigo on the
third level of the Eiffel Tower.
Lysi and Grace, my two main characters, visited
Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel in the Tuileries where
they acted out a humorous scene with a French gendarme.
The Winged Victory in the Louvre was one of Grace’s favorite sites.
Lapin Agile is an historic Sing-Along cabaret Lysi wanted to share with
Maynard, her Aussie homicide detective.
Lysi and Maynard attend a CanCan show at the Moulin Rouge where Maynard
enjoyed the CanCan girls too much in Lysi’s opinion.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but it is also a tremendous help to Mystery authors who want to use words to describe settings. Try snapping a picture when you want to remember the essence of a place you want to write about.
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