Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Place:The Importance of Setting (Part II)- Melanie M. Jeschke
As I’ve traveled to different locales, various impressions and observations find their way into my storylines. Cambo House outside St. Andrew’s, Scotland, led to the pre-WWII love story in Evasions of Eric and Laurene. Having spent the night myself in the “dowager” wing of the mansion, sleeping uneasily in a Victorian tester bed in a capacious room with heavy curtains and mahogany wardrobes, I could easily describe those details when Laurene is quarantined with the flu to her grandmother’s room. Walking St. Andrew’s famous golf course with my friends enabled me to understand Eric’s love for the game and the fun he has finding lost golf balls in the gorse. And our adventurous drive up into the highlands to stay in a lighthouse near Gairloch led me to incorporate that starkly beautiful landscape into the frame story of the MacKenzie clan. Thanks to the generosity of the C.S. Lewis Foundation, I was able to spend a night in Lewis’s home the Kilns; in fact, I slept in his bedroom. Well to be honest, I was so excited I could barely sleep! However, that night allowed me to “experience” a little of what living at the Kilns could have felt like for Annie Little when she finds refuge there as a wartime evacuee.
These kinds of details belonging to “place” can bring verisimilitude to one’s writings as well as trigger numerous plot points. Discovering the right setting, both in time and place, could be the key to unlocking a successful story.
Melanie Morey Jeschke (pronounced “Jĕsʹ-key”) is the author of The Oxford Chronicles series, including Inklings, Intentions, Expectations, and Evasions, as well as Jillian Dare, the Oxford chapter of Rick Steves’ England guidebook, and numerous travel articles. An honors graduate of the University of Virginia with a MA in English Literature from George Mason University, she is currently an adjunct professor of English and lectures in a variety of educational, professional, and community settings. Melanie Jeschke has studied at Oxford University and has traveled extensively in the UK where she sets her stories. A mother of nine and former home-educator, she resides in Northern Virginia with her family and husband Bill Jeschke, senior pastor of The King’s Chapel in Clifton, VA.