Thursday, April 15, 2010

Unfamiliar Settings

Here's a scene from a manuscript I started a couple of years ago. I have about two chapters done. Right now it's languishing, but it's on my list of projects to completed "one of these days".

The setting is purely a figment of my imagination, although I've set it in wine country, probably somewhere in Michigan, but I need to do more research to help the setting come alive. (Drat, the hubby and I will need to take a trip and explore some wineries, all in the name of research of course!) There's also a historic town and a cozy B & B. The story actually revolves around the Inn.

Here's how I've set the scene in one part. We're in the hero's POV. (And please keep in mind, it's been a while since I've played with this particular WIP...not a lot of major editing has been done.)

Five miles down the road, the brilliance and vision of the major players at the company revealed itself. A modest sized lake appeared, nestled in the valley between two gently rolling hills. The afternoon sun reflected off the smooth surface of the water, which acting like a mirror, showed the surrounding landscape in reverse.
In awe, Jeremiah pulled his car off to the side of the road and got out. Ignoring the blistering heat, he stared at the magnificent view before him. Only in the middle of nowhere could one find untouched beauty such as this.
Just to the left of the lake, on the other side of the road, a vineyard could be seen, the plants seeming to stretch forever as they disappeared from view on the rolling landscape. Squinting, he could just make out a line of buildings on either side of the road between the lake and the vineyard. More were dotted here and there throughout the surrounding trees and hills.
He got back in his car and slowly made his way down the road, the vision of what could be vividly etched into his mind now. Driving into the town proper, the road turned to cobblestone beneath his wheels, causing the car to bump along. He cursed as he banged his head against the roof, reducing his speed to avoid a concussion. He made a mental note to have paved roads be a construction priority.
Passing a sign which read ‘Welcome to Lakemoore - Population 999’, the line of buildings he had observed from afar rose up on either side of him. Apparently this was the entire downtown area, if it could be called that. It was almost like stepping into the pages of a history book. Each building in turn had the look of something seen in one of the old time movies his mother liked to watch on the classic movie channel. Signs of disrepair could be seen in the peeling paint and shabbiness of some of the structures.
In his professional mind’s eye, he replaced the buildings there with the modern structures needed to run the planned resort, deciding as he drove along the best locations for each: the resort building itself, the clubhouse, golf course, pool area, and a variety of shops and spas to cater to the elite and wealthy that would hopefully flock there. That is if they could get transportation to the Godforsaken place.
Realizing he’d driven through the entire town without looking at a single address, Jeremiah executed a U-turn at the end of the cobblestone street and headed back the way he had come. Now the lake was on his left and the vineyards on his right. A few people could be seen here and there, most gathered at what he assumed to be the local coffee shop.
Watching the numbers carefully this time, he stopped, pulling over in front of a large Victorian house. The sign out front proclaimed it to be ‘The Rosewood Inn Bed and Breakfast’. That was the place. The only place to stay in town, or so he‘d been told. Then again, he thought as he took another look down the nearly deserted street, it probably was true.
Leaving his things in the car for now, he once again stepped out. In deference to the heat, he removed his suit coat, slinging it over his shoulder with a finger crooked through the label at the collar, and approached the sprawling house in front of him. White paint adorned the clapboard siding and green shutters framed the windows. The decorative scrollwork and trim so common to houses of its era graced the soaring peaks. A wide porch spanned the width of the house, curving around a turret on the left and disappearing toward the back.
As he climbed the uneven steps to the front door, he noticed that although in need of a fresh coat of paint, the house was in good condition, with much attention paid to the details that an establishment of its kind needed. Flowers grew in abundance along the stone path to the stairs, and more flowers graced the pots scattered across the spacious porch. Large ferns hung from the edge of the roof, and furniture was placed in conversational groupings.
For a moment, Jeremiah stood and stared. The old-fashioned setting before him was the complete opposite of his sparsely decorated, modern condo. It was like stepping into another world.
A trickle of sweat snaked down the collar of his shirt and brought him out of his revere. He grabbed the ornate knocker and tapped it gently against the oak door.

So, what do you think? Any thoughts?

Until next time,

Happy Reading!



  1. Great description, Debra - especially the way you related it to Jeremiah's thoughts.

  2. Eloquent and visual, Debra. Nicely done--and not over done. I agree with Paula. The details unfold in Jeremiah's POV, as he would think them as he scouted the outskirts of town and the town itself, homing into the B&B. You reveal his intentions.. which I suspect may be in conflict with the locals.

  3. You betcha in regards to the conflict...gotta set that up right away!

    Thanks for the reafirming comments.