A sense of place has always been important to me. It’s been important in where I have chosen to live, and it’s important in the stories I write. I know what a sense of place feels like and yet, I find myself struggling to capture words that define it.
While researching the topic, I came upon this definition by Dr. Thomas A. Woods, “People develop a ‘sense of place’ through experience and knowledge of a particular area. A sense of place emerges through knowledge of the history, geography and geology of an area, its flora and fauna, the legends of a place, and a growing sense of the land and its history after living there for a time.”*
I think this definition more than any other I’ve found defines what a writer tries to evoke when creating a fictional sense of place.
Through their writing, I have sat at the feet of many authors who have mastered this. I’ve written before of how the author Jan Karon influenced me, and she is brilliant at creating the fictional landscape of Mitford. When I first read Elizabeth Musser’s Swan House, I was transported back to Atlanta of 1962 and in all of her books since, I find her story worlds authentic and believable full of the history, geography, flora, fauna, and legends in Dr. Woods’ definition. In Charles Martin’s When Crickets Cry, I read only a few sentences before being drawn to Lake Burton, Georgia.
Perhaps, it’s my love of the South that drives these affinities, but this I know, for me, a sense of place feels like home. The fictional world may be quite different than the one we occupy in time and space, but it seems like somewhere we could find refuge. At least when I write a story, that’s what I hope.
In The Key to Everything, Worthville, Georgia is a place I could call home, and I hope my readers do, too.
Maybe you would want to sit with Genny on her front porch swing and listen to the crickets, join Harriet’s bowling team and send a ball flying down the alley, dine al fresco at Chen’s Chinese, stand on a bank by streaming water at the Worthville Mill, or reminisce about railroad’s glory days at the Worthville Depot.
If you’re longing for a sense of place and home, try reading The Key to Everything. I hope you enjoy Worthville because a sequel also set there is in the works, A Plan for Anything.
*Dr. Thomas A. Woods http://www.importanceofplace.com/2009/04/what-is-sense-of-place.html
The Key to Everything from Anaiah Press is available now at http://a.co/d/0biaeti.
Award winning author, Beverly Varnado, is a novelist, screenwriter, and blogger who lives in North Georgia with her family. She has also written the recently released Faith in the Fashion District, Give My Love to the Chestnut Trees, and Home to Currahee.. Her work is included in several anthologies including, Cool-inary Moments, Christmas Moments, Short and Sweet series, and Moments with Billy Graham. Her screenplays have been finalists for both the Kairos Prize and the Gideon Film Festival Competition. She currently has a screenplay in pre-production.
You can find Beverly online at:
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