Every author takes workshops during his or her career, and one of the things we keep being reminded of is setting. Margie Lawson is of the opinion that every scene deserves a description of the location where the scene takes place to orient the reader. Here's what Stephen King says on the subject from his book On Writing:
"Thin description leaves the reader feeling bewildered and nearsighted. Overdescription buries him or her in details and images. The trick is to find a happy medium. It’s also important to know what to describe and what can be left alone while you get on with your main job, which is telling a story."
Love's In The Cards is a Wild Rose Press release and is based in the already well-established small town of Lobster Cove, ME. It's been one of their most popular lines for years and anyone writing for the line is presented with a map of the town and a description of the businesses there and expected to weave them into the story. My particular story is about two sisters who own The Treasure Chest, the local greeting card and gift shop. I worked for a year in a shop just like the one I described while I lived in Virginia, even down to the life-sized nutcrackers that got hauled out to the front of the store every morning and taken in at night. Based on the review I got, I did a decent job of describing the shop and how it was run.
I guess I learned something from both Margie and Mr. King.
Here's an excerpt from Love's In The Cards:
Penny sighed softly. Abbey made sense. They had to do everything possible to compete with the other shops, all chasing the same tourist dollars. Even if doing so meant having six-foot-tall nutcrackers flanking the door for the next six weeks. Penny’s eyes smarted with sudden tears, but she blinked them away quickly, telling herself the moisture merely came from a reaction to the cold weather. “I think we need new names for these boys, especially after last year’s debacle. I now have two reasons to despise the season.”
As she wiggled her nutcracker to his final position on one side of the entrance to their shop, Abbey grunted. “This is our make-or-break season, so your attitude has to shape up, Penny. I had hoped a year would give you enough time to get over last Christmas’s aborted wedding.”
Penny jerked her big statue a bit too hard to the left before she squared him with the frame. She bit her lip at the chastisement as she glanced at Abbey. Anyone could tell they were from the same family, with their dark hair, blue eyes, and slender builds. Often, they were mistaken for twins, even though Abbey had been born two years earlier. The only noticeable difference was Penny could sing in key, but Abbey had a tin ear.
“Even though I’m over both Max and Ricky, their betrayals still hurt. And the fact they both screwed up my Christmases makes me hate the season.”
“Well, if getting your head back on straight this year means we rename Hans and Gunther, let’s do so. What’d you have in mind?”
Penny squinted up at the lifelike plastic statues towering over them. “I don’t mind Hans, but I’ll name mine Solo, since that’s what I am.”
Abbey grinned and wrapped an arm around Penny. “Well then, may the force be with us as we head into our peak season. The weather’s finally turned cold, perfect for putting folks into the holiday gift-buying mood. Let’s get inside. I’ve got something exciting to show you.”
Love's In The Cards releases December 7, but you can pre-order it now: