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Character as Setting
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Su Kopil asked Mary and me a few questions about how we write our Byzantine mystery novels. The interview is now up at The Motivated Writer. We talk about things like setting as character:

Constantinople might be John's main antagonist. Its tenements and palaces shelter and conceal the murderers he seeks. Its dark, twisting alleyways threaten his safety. The city's demeanor changes from scene to scene -- raining or sunny, or submerged by fog rolling in from the sea -- and from book to book -- as when the streets are blocked by the dead during the plague of 542.

Noting the way the city changes with the weather or the time of day, the way the shadows stretch across the streets in the morning, the nervous shifting light of torches at night, helps bring the place to life. We try to employ sounds and smells, in addition to visualization, although, admittedly, a lot of the smells aren't very appealing. Most importantly, though, we pay attention to the city's population -- a population made up of individuals, all with their own lives, even if we only glimpse them in passing. The beggars in the doorways all have their own approach to seeking handouts. Dogs have enough initiative to sleep on the warm cobbles in the street at noon. A cat might be coping with possessing only three legs.

If you're interested drop by and have a look.

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