5 Steps For Setting The Scene In A Series
Debra Webb gets inspired to start a new series by first setting the scene. Her new series is set close to home in Montgomery, Alabama. Debra infuses the heat and real life tension of a hot Alabama day into her storytelling through that historied setting.
Choose the city or town
Montgomery, Alabama is an old southern town that serves as the capital of Alabama. It’s filled with lovely old historic homes and genteel folks. Yet, for all its southern charm Montgomery has much dark history in its past. That darkness echoes the darkness haunting the characters in the series.
Determine where your characters live
A character’s home says a lot about him or her. For Detective Bobbie Gentry Debra chose a small, sad house in need of repair in a rundown, crime-infested neighborhood. This setting represented Bobbie’s need to punish herself for the deaths of her husband and child. The desperation of the neighborhood represented her desperate inner struggle to come to terms with tragedy. Debra drove around Montgomery many times looking for just the right places for the main characters to live.
Settle on where your characters work
Since the Shades of Death series revolves around murder, the police department was a good fit. Bobbie is a homicide detective so she works in the Criminal Investigation Division of the Montgomery Police Department. Visiting the department and interviewing officers and detectives to capture the feel of the work place helps give the story a sense of depth and realism.
Next, Debra selects what she calls life spots: Restaurants and shops. Like real people, characters have to eat. They shop. Get sick and go to the doctor as well have life celebrations like weddings. Debra feels it’s important to give her characters those every day places. To ensure authenticity, she dines at the chosen restaurants and cafes and visits the shops she uses in her stories.
The scene of the crime
Finally, the scene of the crime must be chosen with the same care. Debra searches for the perfect location for leaving “the body.” Whether it’s a city landmark or deep in the woods, the victim deserves the same attention to detail as the main protagonist.
How important do you feel the details of the setting are to a story?
About No Darker Place:
They want revenge. They need each other.
Detective Bobbie Gentry has one objective: to stop the serial killer who robbed her of her husband, her child and her life. Nick Shade understands Bobbie’s pain—and her desire for vengeance. He’s on a mission of his own, and the murderer known as the Storyteller is next on his list. Nick knows that the best way to find his target is to stick close to Bobbie. But as she becomes more and more reckless in her attempts to lure the Storyteller out of hiding, he has to make a choice. Will he protect her from herself even if it means passing up the chance to take out one more monster? As for Bobbie, she’s forced to decide just how much she can trust this stranger who knows so much about her. And both of them are about to learn whether or not two broken people can save each other.