Creating a world

Pat Davids here.
Creating a realistic setting can be very important to a novel, be it historical, modern day or on another planet in a far away universe. As many of you know, I've been writing Amish stories lately. Creating an Amish world has it's own set of challenges.
For the fictitious town of Hope Springs, Ohio, I started with the Internet and located the area of Ohio I wanted to use. I chose the real town of Sugarcreek as a template for my town. I changed the name of the streets and googled the businesses there to see what a village that size would contain. I checked out a dozen books about the Amish over several months and contacted other authors for their reference material suggestions. Authors are wonderful, helpful people.
I now have a town map of Hope Springs with streets and businesses laid out to use in future books. I sure don't want to have the medical clinic on different streets in different books. Readers catch that kind of thing. I was also fortunate enough to contact a woman in the Sugarcreek area. She sells Amish made baskets on-line and she was able to give me a ton of information and even recommended a DVD for me. It was a big help in setting out the way they travel and how they care for their horses as well as what businesses and farming methods the Amish use.
I'd love to travel to Ohio one of these days, but until then travel sites and travel books will have to give me the flavor I need.
World building is just one more fun part of being an author. How cool is it to make up your own town? Real cool.


Penny Rader said...

Great post, Pat. I can't wait to read your new series! I'd love to see your map. (Trying to create a community of my own.)

Becky A said...

Hey Miss Pat,
I had no clue how to create my own world. Actually, I had no idea what you all meant by that. Thanks for enlightening me. My characters have been mostly restricted to a farm and a house. I suppose that would be their "world," but I hadn't thought of it that way.
I would love to see your map too.
Way cool! Becky

Elaine Morrison said...

Pat, creating your own town sounds really fun. I went to the miniature horse show this weekend and would love to do a series of books that have these delightful animals in them. There's an island off the coast of FL that doesn't allow cars - only scooters. How cool would it be to have a town that only allows carts drawn by miniature horses...? Anyway, can you share your map? I'd really like to know all about your town. I think towns draw in more readers and keep them coming back. Or even a street, like Blossom Street in Debbie Macomber's series. How many books will be in your series about this town or do you know yet?

Starla Kaye said...

Great start to this month's blogging on creating "worlds" and settings. It is a time-consuming task to do all of the research and creation part, but well worth it when you start writing.

I'm not sharing my methods now or I won't have anything for my own blogs.

Joan Vincent said...

You do a great job in creating the setting for your books, Pat. I too have to draw maps for my stories. I spent days figuring out the route Merristorm's coach would take up the Great North Road to Whitby as well as the timing of it. I also have to do house plans--do you?

Pat Davids said...

Thanks everyone for stopping in to post comments. I can't wait to see how other WARA writers develope their own settings. I have no idea how many Hope Springs stories will eventually be written, but I have three finished and three more planned.

Roxann Delaney said...

I've been giving this topic some thought. Like Starla, I'll wait until my turn to blog to take a personal stab at it.

But something that's come to mind is that we are constantly creating worlds with each new story. "World" doesn't necessarily mean some otherworld or even a setting. It's the character's perception of what's around them, who they know, how they react and what choices they make.

Even without the above, I think each of us "sees" our characters in specific surroundings. When a character walks into a room, we see that room in our mind. Whether we describe the room to the reader or not is our choice, but not describing it doesn't mean it isn't there. At least to us and the character.

Reese Mobley said...

Thanks for an interesting post, Pat. It's so much fun when we first start a story and get to build a world for our characters. It gets me excited about the book and makes it easier to keep the details straight.

Nina Sipes said...

What a clever idea! It never occurred to me to use a real town or create a town. A friend of mine and I was talking the other day about how she hates it when a town changes for no reason in a book series. Like when the hero goes next to the Pencil's Mensweare store into Lulu's Cut and Curl only in the next book for the store next to Pencil's to be Rag's Bar and Grill. She'd like a one-liner explaining that Lulu married Rag and now cuts only his hair or some small tidbit. Otherwise it is very confusing to her. She maps these suckers in her head. Me, I wake up in a new world every day so it doesn't matter so much.