This month, I’m hosting Day 3 of the Virtual Book Tours for all
the children’s book authors/illustrators who are part of the
October Showcase at the National Writing for Children Center.
Today, I’m pleased to be hosting Day 1 of the tour for author Lisa
Nocturne is a younger YA fantasy about Flannery Lane, an
intrepid, resourceful fifteen year old who possesses remarkable
magical powers. As a baby, Flan was found on the doorstep of a
wizard and raised as his niece in the rooms above his bookshop.
Because her powers are so strong, they attract evil, so she is
forbidden from using them. If a fifteen year old possesses magical
power but is forbidden to use it, what do you suppose she’ll do?
Exactly! Flan secretly practices her magic in the back of the
bookshop and of course attracts unspeakable evil: a
vampire, who terrorizes the city and kidnaps her uncle.
One of the distinctive qualities of Nocturne is, I believe, the
setting. I worked hard to create the fog-cloaked, cobblestone street
Flan lives on, as well as the shopkeepers and neighbors who
inhabit it. It suggests a Victorian London-ish neighborhood,
although I never name the city or the time in which the story is set.
Here a ways students could use the setting in Nocturne to learn
about time and place in a story:
Look for details that give readers clues about the setting.
Students could study the buildings, clothing, personal objects, and
dialogue to see what kind of picture they paint for readers. When
a character wears a cloak rather than coat or jacket, or uses a
feathered quill rather than a ballpoint pen, does it suggest a
certain time and place?
Research objects in the story to pinpoint the story’s time in
history. For example, when Pascoe is in the bookshop researching
vampires, he uses a pencil to take notes. Students could find out
when pencils were invented to get an idea of how early this story
could have taken place.
Find details of the setting that give the story a sense of mood
and atmosphere. Do the fog and the wind give scenes a certain
feeling? What about the warmth of the bookshop compared to the
chill of the manor house?
When students and writers! study stories, they often focus
on character and plot. But a strong setting grounds characters and
plot and gives them a firm foundation on which to grow.
Follow all 7 authors on their 7-day Virtual Book Tours and leave
comments and you could win the Giftbox Giveaway from the
National Writing for Children Center. Click here to keep
following the tours: http://www.donna-mcdine.blogspot.com/