A sense of place

The first chapter of my serialized novelA Coven in Essex County, was published last month, and the second chapter was published recently. It’s probably about time I made a post about them.

In the first chapters, I attempted to create a sense of place, to highlight the town and a confined space within it. The Bridgeford Manor is a looming building in Innsmouth’s historic landscape. It was built on a fortune earned through negotiation with beings more ancient than Innsmouth’s occupants.

I don’t think I did a particularly good job. It’s too bad, because some of my favorite books employ well developed domiciles to house their stories. I’ve decided to make a brief list of inspirations:

White is for Witching, Helen Oyeyemi

Set in a bed and breakfast in Dover, White is for Witching is a creepy, erotic, chilling, and strangely comforting story of girls and women making their own places and bodily interactions.

Paradise, Toni Morrison

A New York Times article described Paradise as being about “Worthy Women, Unredeemable Men.” I cannot agree entirely, but this story about women making their own lives after existences defined by men, and the interloping forces of the community that seeks to engulf and control them, paints a varied and complex picture that is defined by and expands well beyond the house it is set in.

The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood

The Blind Assassin is about much more than a childhood home, but some of the lush flashbacks in the novel are set against a richly imagined house that becomes more symbolic than its mythologically inspired decorations as the protagonist ages.

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

I’m not linking Jane Eyre, because… it’s Jane freaking Eyre. (And I doubt Bronte’s collecting those royalty checks.) There’s a lot to be said about this classic. Namely by me, on uncomfortable dates, after 2 or more glasses of wine. But one thing that is not talked about enough: the role houses play in the novel, before and after Lowood. Described in no small detail, the buildings where Jane lives with the families she is thrust into play as much a role housing her feelings as her drab wardrobe and quiet mannerisms.

That’s all for now.

J.M.

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