Tag Archives: happify

Writing Tips: Setting: Picking a Location

23 May

Before I begin today’s post topic, I have two things to address: 

First: Special thanks to Nicole Lee at “Ennlee’s Reading Corner” for reviewing Minutes Before Sunset:  “…The book alternates between the point of view of each of the main characters without a set pattern, and Ms. Thompson should be commended for her ability to create two characters that are similar enough to keep these sections from being disjointed, but different enough that the reader can tell in an instant who is speaking…”

Click here to read the rest.

As of now, Minutes Before Sunset is rated 4.5 stars on Amazon, 4 stars on Barnes & Noble, and 4.7 stars on Goodreads. Thank you to everyone who has read and reviewed! An author always appreciates the dedicated and honest support. 

This picture means a lot to me. These are two great friends of mine that I met at the University of Kansas, William and Brooke Jones, and you might notice what William is holding: my first novel, November Snow. Support (and friendship) like this is priceless.

This picture means a lot to me. These are two great friends of mine that I met at the University of Kansas, William and Brooke Jones, and you might notice what William is holding: my first novel, November Snow. Support (and friendship) like this is priceless.

Second: As many of you know, I held another contest where the winners receive a free account at Happify, a website dedicated to bringing happiness to social media within a great community of encouraging peers. The winners are:

whiteravensoars: Random Acts of Writing (invitation sent)

Ky Grabowski: Welcome to the inner workings of my mind (invitation sent)

willowysp: Freefall (I need an email)

Nicole Lee: Ennlee’s Reading Corner (invitation sent)

Amber Skye Forbes: Writing Words with the Tips of my Toes (invitation sent)

Based on status, you’ll receive a confirmation. (If you don’t fell comfortable sharing your email on my comments, please send an email to ShannonAThompson@aol.com identifying yourself, so I can send the invite) Follow me here, so I can find you, and I’ll  be sure to follow back!

Now, onto today’s post:

I wanted to discuss “setting” in a novel, but I specifically wanted to share websites where you can find more information on your place (or perhaps browse the world for inspiration, even if your setting is in another world entirely.)

I think your background is a great place to start. Everyone has heard “write what you know,” and there is truth in it. Placing your novel in a place your extremely familiar with is the easiest route (not necessarily the right route), and this can make descriptions easier. For instance, Minutes Before Sunset takes place in Hayworth, Kansas. This is not a real town. It’s actually a play on Hays and Ellsworth, both towns in Kansas. I haven’t lived in these locations, but I have been to them, and I currently live in Kansas, so I am very familiar with the culture, layout, and how the weather works. Plus, I wanted an ironic name. Since the novel is about a dark fate, it only seemed appropriate (and humorous) to have a name that suggested the town was worthy.

In regards to familiarity, another thing to think about is your basic settings. By this, I am referencing your rooms. I’ve discussed interior maps before, and every house in Minutes Before Sunset is based off of a real house I’ve lived in (aside from Eric’s. That’s my dream home.) And the maps are available on the Minutes Before Sunset extra’s page.

Back to location:

If you’re looking for a place you’re not entirely familiar with, I wanted to give a great website out there for beginning, especially if you’re not positive on what you’re looking for.

Earth Album Alpha: This is a slick flicker collection of photos, virtually capable in regards to clicking anywhere on the map just to see an arrangement of pictures from the specific country. This can be very broad, but it can also help narrow down what you’re looking for. As an example, the picture below is of Serbia. (I clicked randomly.) You’ll see a collection of tiny pictures at the top, which you can enlarge, that will show the region. In particular, this country has a lot of beautiful fields, so you may not be interested in Serbia, but you might realize you want an open space, and you can go from there.

Earth Album Alpha

Earth Album Alpha

Do you like these tips? Join my Facebook page for more!

Do you like these tips? Join my Facebook page for more!

Weather Base: This website helps summarize what happens in regards to weather in the average year based on the location you choose. This is actually a traveling website, meant for tourists to figure out ideal weather to travel in, but you can learn whatever you want all over the world. I really recommend checking these things, because fallacies can happen in location, if you’re not familiar with how citizens live beneath the weather clouds. A good example of this is the famous young-adult novel, Twilight. Although Meyer set it in a rain-prone state, the amount of rain she used was very unrealistic to the location. In an interview, she even admitted that she visited for weeks without rain and was quite disappointed with her lack of research. However, she was delighted to bring tourism to the city that wasn’t known before. So there are pros and cons to everything.

American Culture: If you want to stay in the states, this blog is full of information about history, culture, language, education, and more. It even includes family arrangements, death rituals, and relationships to other countries where these things may have taken place originally. This won’t only help your setting; it can help your characters round out as they’ll have a family background stabilized within reality. For instance, it may remind you of the variation in language used across certain areas. An exact quote: “Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Tagalog due to immigration from the countries where those languages are spoken, and to a certain extent French, primarily in far north New England, due to the Acadian-Canadian influence, and in Louisiana (Cajun).”

My hopes is that sites like this will help the initial process of choosing a location you (as much as your readers) feel connected to as much as your characters will be grounded in it. 

If you have any other sites, comment below! And, as usual, if you have a topic you want to hear about, let me know, and I’ll credit your blog for asking the question on that post.

I hope everyone is having a great time! (Paperback news is coming soon!)

Goodreads Quote of the day“I was falling in love with her, and she was falling in love with me. It was fated, decided before any of us were born, and I hated it as much as I loved it. I could barely stand it.” (Eric, Minutes Before Sunset)

~SAT

Movie Mention: Star Trek Into Darkness

21 May

Before I begin my posts over the next couple of days, I’m going to be sharing links to Minutes Before Sunset reviews and interviews from some wonderful bloggers. Today, I’d like to thank Kristy Feltenberger Gillespie, blogger on “Keep Calm and Write On” for posting this review. I’d also like to thank the Kansas City rock band, Averya, for already reviewing Minutes Before Sunset. Their reviews push me forward! And I’m looking forward to the abundance of reviews coming from those who have volunteered to participate in my last posting and others who’ve participated since the release. Thank you!

I’d also like to offer another opportunity: I’m a part of a website called Happify. It’s a website dedicated to creating time for happiness in your personal life, and I’ve earned five invites. Comment below if you’re interested (with your email) and I’ll do a raffle for the invites! The winners will be announced on my next post. 

The night I went we had tornadic weather, and this tree got struck by lightning right before we got there!

The night I went we had tornadic weather, and this tree got struck by lightning right before we got there!

Onto the movie: 

During another adventure of Midwest storms last night, I saw Star Trek Into Darkness. I know. I know. I’m a little late on this review train, since some were able to see it as early as May 9, but I finally found the time to go, and it was fantastic!

Just to give you a little bit of my background, my mother was a trekky, so I actually know a lot about the series. That being said, I did think some of the changes were unnecessary. But, again, I’m pretty openminded about movie adaptations, and I ultimately found this movie really entertaining–both visually stunning, action-packed, and humorous, although I did find the plot pretty predictable (aside from one part.) However, despite the predictability, I still enjoyed this movie immensely.

StarTrekIntoDarkness_FinalUSPosterI get enough of Zachary Quinto  and Zoe Saldana. On top of that, Benedict Cumberbatch (I’m sure many of you recognized him from Sherlock Holmes) is an interesting villain. I don’t want to give away the movie, or I would expand on this statement.

Basically, I had a really good time seeing the second one, and I’m looking forward to the third movie when it comes out. (I’ve actual spent a large portion of my afternoon researching this, and it looks like there is definitely a third one in the making.)

Have you seen this movie? What did you think? If not, are you planning on seeing this movie in the future? I’d love to hear your thoughts, especially if you’ve read and/or watched the old series. That way, if anyone is interested and comes to this page, they can get an array of opinions!

Hope there isn’t tornadic weather where anyone else is. Have a great day.

~SAT

Minutes Before Sunset: Goodreads quote of the day: “Identity was everything, but it seemed I never had one.” (Jessica)

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