Sunday, June 23, 2013


By Paisley Kirkpatrick
A while back I watched the Civil War movie Beguiled with a very young, very handsome Clint Eastwood as the northern soldier who is taken into a southern girls’ school to be nursed back to health. I remember seeing it years ago and how much I enjoyed it then.
First, I must confess I have this fetish for moss hanging on those gorgeous big trees in the south. I was lucky enough to see the trees draped in moss in person. Yes, it did give my heart a flutter. Anyway, I digress. One really great part of this movie was the way the director used the setting to bring out the mood of the story. The director skillfully added the items in the school and the garden to surround us with what it was like to be in the South during the Civil War. I know it enhanced my watching pleasure.
My time period is set during the California gold rush. I love to explore the old Victorian houses when they are open to the public, but it isn’t the same as living in them during the 1800s. One thing I noticed in the movie was when the women walked through the otherwise dark house at night, holding a candlestick with one candle to light her way, it only lit up the area where they walked. I hadn’t even thought about how dark it would remain in the rest of the room, hallway or staircase. I guess I just took it for granted the single candle would light the entire room, even though we’ve endured living by candle light during blackouts. It got me to thinking about other things that I knew, but didn’t think about when setting my scenes. I have started back into my stories and using my sensory words to enrich my plot.
What this movie brought home for me was to stretch my imagination and put myself into the setting more and pull out all the little things that can bring your story to life. I’ve always been one to notice everything when we are traveling. Now I have to start noticing what goes on around me and try to spiff up my stories by making them more human.


Ana Morgan said...

You make a fantastic point, Paisley. Accurate sensory details add believability and richness to a story. Thank you for this great post!

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Thanks, Ana. I love watching that movie from the content to the scenery. Of course, I am the whacko who loves the hanging moss on the trees. My child who lives in Florida laughs at me. :)

Damyanti said...

I love ferns hanging on enormous trees too, and they were quite plentiful in Malaysia, where I lived for a few years.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Thanks for visiting, Damyanti. Glad someone else has an eye for beauty like I do. ;)