Monday, August 30, 2010

Writing with Design in Mind

Today for Manna Monday, I'm the guest post blogger for Rebecca Ward Design.
Hope you enjoy.

I have this passion for writing. You know, stories, articles, fiction, poetry. So I’m sure you’re wondering: How can she possibly relate writing to interior design?

In all honesty, I was stumped when first presented with the idea of guest blogging for a designer. Some designers have the ability to write, but not all writers can design.

Then I realized, after thinking about it, that a well-designed room has a story to tell. And that these stories, the rooms or buildings, set the background information for most books. The design ends up being critical to specific scenes or dialogue because it sets the mood and temperament, and reveals detail necessary for a quality story.

This is accomplished through any and every thing: the color of the walls, the style of the protagonist’s favorite chair, texture of a bedroom duvet or even the run-down fifties-era kitchen. These descriptions all have to do with design.

How is this true? Well, look at your favorite book-turned-movie and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. Take Harry Potter’s less than perfect sleeping conditions at his Uncle and Aunt’s house, in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and watch how it comes alive with just a few words: “Harry found a pair [of socks] underneath the bed, and after pulling a spider off one of them, put them on. Harry was used to spiders because the cupboard under the stairs was full of them, and that was where he slept.” The mixture of socks and spiders is what sets the scene. The set decorator (to me, also known as an interior designer) has to find the creepiness factor and does this by splashing the room with cobwebs and darkness. This is design and literature meshed to perfection.


Mystery writer, Michele Scott writes this in her novel, Murder Uncorked. “The furniture was done in distressed leather and warm woods. The walls were painted a gold tone, and a Navajo rug hugged the hard wood floors.” Michele’s writing and interior design descriptions make me want to go there … and live their too!

Writing and design blend well because together it sells the story; it makes the scene and characters not only come to life, but through these details we feel, smell and hear everything we read.

With that thought, I have to inform you of something amazing. What if you could see this idea of design and literature in action? What if you could go to a place with rooms designed for specific authors, mixed with elements from their works, from Virginia Wolfe to Mark Twain or Tolkien and Emily Dickinson? What if this was on oceanfront property and you could not only visit this place but stay in it?

At Sylvia Beach Hotel, in Nye Beach, Oregon, you can. This is a book-lovers hotel, inside and out. There’s even a restaurant called “Table of Contents,” and a library on the third floor that takes up the entire west wing. It’s literature and design together!

Take Agatha Christie’s room for example, it has a private deck, fireplace and ocean view. As soon as you’re a guest in this room, you can read from Christie’s books and even find clues from each mystery hidden somewhere in the room. Hello? This is incredible. And it proves that writing about interiors, and even matching it with the author and their writing, not only creates great literature but also creates unforgettable characters and authors.

Writing and design are relatable and necessary to each other. And I think without it, books would pretty awful stuff to read. The interior design is what pulls me in as a reader or writer into the story. It's crucial for vivid imagery and feeling. And it's something writers shouldn't forget about, particulaly to bond the reader to the characters. Quite honestly, if the design aspect were to disappear, it just might signal the end times.

-Heather

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