Wednesday, 18 November 2015

That wish fulfillment setting

Dreaming of living  close to the sea?
There's bound to be a book for that.
Following on from last week's post, I was thinking about the ingredients for the setting of one of those re-write the lifestyle books. Yes folks, it's another list! Again, in no particular order :-

  • Beautiful countryside - suitable for long healthy walks. Or horse rides. Or maybe a bike ride?

  • Quiet - where the noisiest sound is the birds. But - take it from me, if these are seagulls, that's pretty noisy.

  • Local food/produce - buying vegetables from the market, local sausages, wine, beer...

  • Clear skies - for romantic star gazing.

  • A local community - friendly neighbours, book groups, allotment societies.

  • An artistic community - studios, talks, classes

  • Impressive weather - i.e. wonderful sunshine, spectacular storms, cloud formations to make Turner weep. Not too much rain, unless it's the warm summer kind - cue one of those romantic scenes where hero and heroine have to dry off together - well, you can imagine the rest. Or a sudden torrent at the black point of the book, so the hero/heroine is physically devastated as well as emotionally. 

  • Attractive buildings - to included stately homes, fisherman's cottages and the derelict with potential.

  • Historical atmosphere - historic sites, traditions, folklore. Particularly if these have some sort of public celebration attached, like a parade or a fair.

You probably wouldn't have all these in one book and I'm sure there are more, but that's all that strike me at the moment. They are fairly transferable too, whether it's Cornwall, Tuscany or Indiana. Whether they actually exist in real life, and how attractive they would be on a permanent basis - that's another question, but I take the view that one of the purposes of genre novels is to help readers to dream, and if necessary, to escape for a while. If writers can create a bit of wish fulfilment as part of a story - for me, that's all good. Others like their fiction gritty, mine are also scary - at least I hope they are - but always with a positive ending.

As they cliche says, it takes all sorts, which is what makes life, and reading,  interesting.


  1. It's a perfect way to travel from your armchair! Angela Britnell

    1. Hi Angela - And an added bonus, given the wind and rain over here in Wales at the moment - you get to control your own weather!