[Esperance coastline Western Australia - by me]
Having just returned from a gorgeous holiday in Esperance, filled with dramatic scenery and white beaches - I've been really thinking about what goes into setting up scenery in novels.
When creating a scene, I tend to focus on things like sight (what you can immediately see), smell, and temperature to give a rounded snapshot of what the place is like. However, there are other things that are equally as important when setting up a scene - things that aren't as physically tangible.
How a place feels to the character is invaluable. Some places are vibrant, pulsing with life, whilst others are creepy and some are old, decrepit and ooze desperation and sorrow (some neglected old Wheatbelt towns really have this feeling).
What causes these feelings is really up to the individuals own imagination. A place that one person thinks is marvellous can be down right hideous to another. I think this difference is due simply down to the individuals imaginative interpretation of what they see. I know for a fact, with my own ridiculously overactive imagination - I tend to experience places more intensely that some others who aren't as imaginative - which isn't always a good thing!!
Before setting a scene however, authors will first have to build the world of the novel. My critique partner forwarded me a very interesting article on world building. The name of the original author eludes me at the moment and if I spend hours digging through my inbox I'm sure I'll find it! The essence of the article was how to build a believable world. To do this the author needs to show the readers what the people in that world fear, enjoy, misunderstand, forget, bless or bury. It was a very cool article indeed and following those points helps create a believable world with memorable and interesting scenes - well I hope so anyway!