It has been sweltering hot in Dundee for the past couple of weeks. Although I have been writing I also wanted to get out and about in the sun. I justify this with the premise that all work, and no play, makes Wendy a very dull author indeed. With the sun at my back it was time to explore the location of my books.
DI Shona McKenzie, the star of my murder mystery books, lives in Broughty Ferry, so it is here I chose to spend the day. Broughty Ferry has a beautiful beach as can be seen above. However, despite enjoying the day, my mind turns to crime. How could this beautiful location be incorporated into a book, with a deed so vile, no one could possibly imagine it. Except an author of course. The photo will serve as a reminder when I am writing about location in my books.
What else did I find in Broughty Ferry?
There is a rather fine castle, which was first fortified as a castle in 1454. Given the history of Scotland I am sure that many a murder has taken place within its walls over the centuries. With the blue of the harbour it looks idyllic today, but is it?
Broughty Ferry, like many parts of Dundee, is a mixture of the old and the new. I love this picture with the new cuddling up to the new, and yet somehow working.
Broughty Ferry sits on the estuary of the river Tay, with the Kingdom of Fife on the other side of the river. They are joined by the Tay Bridge, which can't be seen in this picture. However, despite being separated by the river, Dundee, and Tayport in Fife, are close enough to be joint partners in any mayhem contained within a book.
As writers, we have to set the scene for our readers, giving them a sense of place. Going out and taking photographs such as this can help us with providing vivid word pictures which can be translated visually by our readers. However, one caveat. This should ideally be done in different weather conditions. The sun always seems to be shining in my pictures, but not in my novels. Not that I want the rain, or the wind, or the storm to arrive but when it does, I will be dressing up warmly and taking the bull by the horns. My loyal readers are worth every freezing cold minute.
I would like to finish with a question. To all authors. What is your top tip for ensuring a sense of place in your novels?