If you are an emerging writer, note: A strong sense of place is a real key to developing the richly delicious details that good fiction needs.
Here’s a quote that hits the nail on the head about the role of a sense of place from the website of a great writer, Ivan Doig.
One last word about the setting of my work, the American West. I don’t think of myself as a “Western” writer. To me, language—the substance on the page, that poetry under the prose—is the ultimate “region,” the true home, for a writer.
Specific geographies, but galaxies of imaginative expression—we’ve seen them both exist in William Faulkner’s postage stamp-size Yoknapatawpha County, and in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s nowhere village of Macondo, dreaming in its hundred years of solitude.
If I have any creed that I wish you as readers, necessary accomplices in this flirtatious ceremony of writing and reading, will take with you from my pages, it’d be this belief of mine that writers of caliber can ground their work in specific land and lingo and yet be writing of that larger country: life.
– Ivan Doig, from “A Note to My Readers”
There is a close, fundamental connection between the limited boundaries of place and the expansiveness of big themes. They go hand in hand in great works of fiction.
“Specific geographies, but galaxies of imaginative expression” . . . does that describe your literary stories?