Friday, July 16, 2010
The Bar, The Desert and the Range--that's the blog title I wanted, but it seemed a bit long.
I think most novels limit themselves to a few main settings. This is where the bulk of the action takes place and where the reader is comfortable watching your characters develop.
In THE COST OF LOVE, E.T.'s Bar is where Dean and Lucy work undercover. It is also where the community gathers to shoot the bull (not figuratively-that would be messy). This is where Lucy first meets the larger cast of characters, and where Dean was embedded before the novel began. It's where the main attack against the town is staged and where the people of the town finally must decide if they're going to pull together or not. It's also where the "mole" is hidden. The bar is a main setting in the novel, and it's important my reader feel comfortable and intrigued by it from the first time they step inside.
The desert around Roswell, New Mexico represents the larger world and to some extent what is at risk should Lucy and Dean fail. It's wild, it's beautiful, and it's the setting for the more out-of-control scenes. The reader isn't sure what's going to happen when my characters are set loose in the desert. There are love scenes, death scenes, fight scenes, even party scenes--all within the setting of the great southwest desert.
White Sands Missile Range is the largest military installation in the world at almost 3,200 square miles. It's where my story opens and where it closes. I have such an abiding respect for our military men and women, and I wanted to emphasize that by showing the importance of this facility. In my novel, the base has been compromised, which sets up the conflict, creates the opening murder, and leads to the closing conflict.
There are plenty of other settings in this novel--exploding airports, loud dancehalls, intimate bedrooms, lonesome highways . .. . but the bar, the desert and the range are the three places where I've set Dean's boot down and claimed the reader's attention. Every novel has anchor points. Those were mine.