Posts Tagged 'new zealand'

Setting and the Tax Man

2009-08-23aI’m constantly amazed at how vividly a place can influence my writing. Its feel, its smell, the lay of the land, the palette of the landscape, the way the wind feels when it pulls at your hair. Every place is unique, which is why setting is so important in books. Setting gives us an immediate insight into the mood of a novel. A strong and tangible sense of what kind of story you’re entering and the characters you might encounter.

2009-08-23bI got to thinking about this recently while on holiday in New Zealand. Driving through the patchwork hills, in a climate so different to our own, the feel of the place vividly conjured the setting and characters from a story of mine. While walking along a river, the characters began to interact in my mind again, commenting on the terrain and noticing things I had not. I had a similar experience last year while in England, and on both trips kept a diary of these observations.

2009-08-23cIn the final two drafts of the junior fantasy novel I worked on during my ASA mentorship, these diaries became invaluable. When first writing this story, I chose a slightly more European setting due to a need for a land with clear seasonal change – harsh winters and long dry summers – a climate as hard as the tribes that drive the plot. In early drafts I focussed more on the characters and their story, but in later drafts I had to work to clarify the setting.

Yet the setting only became vivid and real once I had walked the land of my story. Once I had lived the winter that left only the hardiest plants alive, kicked my feet through muddied puddles of leaves, walked under clouds of ash and ice and marveled at skeletal trees greeting the morning sun.

Do you think Mr Tax Man will scoff when I insist that my ski trip to New Zealand was driven by a need to become intimate with the landscape of my story? And is it shallow to set my next story on an island due to a desire for sand and sun? Caribbean, here I come…

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The Land of Kiwis and Ice

I’m back! No broken bones and luckily not as sore as I expected to be. We had such a great time, I think NZ has made regular skiers out of us…

Two mad powder monkeys

Two mad powder monkeys

Just another lovely day at Cardrona

Just another lovely day at Cardrona

2009-08-09c

The view from our lodge

2009-08-09b

Sunset over Lake Wanaka

The elusive snow bunny, usually shy but this day preening for the camera

The elusive snow bunny, usually shy but this day preening for the camera

Gone Fishing

Well, not exactly fishing. Tomorrow we head off to the land of ice, New Zealand, for a ski trip. Should be hilarious really, considering I have no idea how to ski. You can be assured that comical photos are to follow.

This little ski bunny will be back in a week and a half. Wish me luck, but don’t tell me to break a leg … or an ankle … or a wrist …

2009-07-28


About this Blog…

A blog of ramblings about the world of writing and illustrating for children, by an author / illustrator who might just have a thing for rabbits.

Katherine's picture books, 'Squish Rabbit' and 'Brave Squish Rabbit', are out with Viking (Penguin, US) and UQP (Australia). Please e-mail if you would like her to blog about something in particular.

All text & images  Katherine Battersby

Released Sept 2012:

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