A few days ago I read a post from Writer's Write (a great writing blog with lots of inspiration and tips for beginners that I follow on Pinterest) about a writer's sketchbook. It talked about how if an artist must have a sketchbook to practice detailing, an author needs a sketchbook to practice detailing too. The recommendation was to take pictures and practice describing the parts of pictures to get good at description. Here's a link to the original post.
With my book, Rose, I have been struggling with it taking place in another country. I don't want my detailing to lack because the scenery is something unfamiliar to me. I wanted to sound authoritative on the subject of Domfront, France, so I started doing research. Lots and lots of research. But I was still struggling with the next chapter because I was unsure how to describe this town. Then I remembered the writer's sketchbook activity and decided it was time to try. I found pictures of city streets in Domfront and the country surrounding it, and started to describe. It was rough at first, but toward the end you can see how it got easier. I'm excited and ready to start chapter 2 now that I feel like I can place a character in this small town. Here are some pictures of the town and my sketchbook details. Hopefully soon I'll have the next chapter done so you can see how the details fit into my writing.
-Quaint and picturesque
-pear trees for Domfront perry
-Au Bar Normand
-hills greener than the pears that grew there
-a few streets had been repaved to replace the old cobblestone
-stone and brick walls
-stacks of windows above giant shop fronts
-not many people still lived there, making it perfect for those who liked quiet evenings out in the garden under the pear tree with a classic book.
-most people knew each other, but there was a consistent stream of tourists who came to see le Château de Domfront, Nôtre-Dame sur l'Eau, et le parc régionale basse Normandie
-a small community but very tight, and not just because of the closeness of all the buildings.
-green vines grew up the stone walls of the once brightly painted buildings, now faded and antiqued, adding to the sense that the town was taken right out of a Monet painting.