Tuesday, 22 September 2009

What is your landscape?

Most of my writing for children and teens has been set by the sea and the area which features in my new cycle of teen novels, is Hayling Island. My family lived on the Island for 20 years. You can find out more on my website.

In my second novel, ILLEGAL, Lindy and Karl need to get away from the adults for a while.It is evening and they go to the Kench, a beautiful, very quiet spot on the south-east end of the Island. Karl breaks into a houseboat.

Then they go for a swim in the sea and Lindy feels as though she is washing herself clean from all the troubles of her day. Karl swims out much further, rising and falling like a dolphin in the bay.

Choose your landscape carefully for you novel, so that it becomes fully embedded in the story and the characters. Your landscape, imaginery or real, should be a place that takes on a life of its own, fully three dimensional, without dominating your text. HAPPY WRITING.


  1. i write entire chapters forgetting to mention the setting! thanks for this!

  2. Great words, there: I like to think of the setting as really another character - but one that can be forgotten in all the noise and bustle if I'm not careful!

  3. Hi Miriam,
    I agree with the last comment about the landscape being another character - i find when I'm writing I have to really 'feel' the place, like a setting has its own rhythm.
    I love the way your blog has good practical writing tips - it is like a cure for writing niggles. I think writing journals are really important too - there is quite a lot of research that shows the benefits of using these in the classroom (unfortunately they often get shoved to the side to make way for 'serious' class writing and left to golden-time. I have personal issues with this as you can tell!
    Anyway, I am working soon with some older kids than usual - 13 year olds that are underachieving in reading and general literacy . It is a small focus group of 8 with 4 Primary student teacher mentors. I think it would be really fab if they could post messages/questions on your blogspot so that they get some expert comments/answers from you. The project is also about raising their aspirations (seeing that there is a big world out there where anything is possible, in their case a world outside Bognor). Communicating with someone that is actively creating would help them to see that English goes on in the outside world and can be an enjoyable part of their lives.
    Hope that all makes sense!
    Vashti x

  4. Hi Vashti, I would be delighted to respond to any comments/questions posted by your pupils. I look forward to hearing from them and many thanks for your insightful comments.

  5. This is a tip I need to have pinned above my desk! Writing historical stuff means I have to get my landscape in there all the time. Thanks!


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