Two weeks ago my husband had business out on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state and I joined him for an extended pleasure trip of stunning Pacific Ocean scenery and wildlife. One morning we stopped in the little town of Forks for coffee. Forks used to be a thriving lumber town. Now it is a thriving literary haven for Twilight fans. I am not going to pretend to be a big fan of the series, but I do admire the excitement it has brought to readers, to the point of visiting the fictional locations of Bella and Edward’s haunts.
I chatted up the clerk at the grocery store and learned that Stephanie Meyer has visited Forks twice, once after the first book came out and later after one of the movie premieres. It’s fairly well known that Meyer chose the rainiest/foggiest town in America for her setting, researching the location on the Internet. We don’t always need to visit the locations of our stories. But we do need to evoke a deep sense of place in our stories. Does Meyer evoke the essence of Forks in her Twilight books? Apparently so. To the point, that the Chamber of Commerce even designated on a map a home that Bella likely would have lived in and the Italian restaurant in Port Angeles where Bella and Edward likely had their first date.
As Cheryl posted recently, setting is always a big factor in our writing – where our stories take place and where we live while writing them. Few authors have devoted fans who visit their story locations. But we can all work on writing vivid settings that draw readers in. What’s a popular literary haunt in your part of the country?
Through sunshine and hurricanes, fall leaves and winter snow, write on.