Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Confined Settings

with guest Rose Ross Zediker.


Rose Ross Zediker
Novellas must tell a compelling story under very tight word count restraints. One way to do this is to use a confined setting.

What’s a confined setting? A location of some type that basically ‘locks’ the couple together with no escape. Confined settings keep your couple together and heightens the conflict because there are few places for them to be alone.

In my novella, Railroaded into Love, I used a railroad chapel car for my confined setting. Although it is parked on a side rail and they do walk to a nearby town, their ‘home’ quarters is close. There is nowhere for the couple to go that they don’t run into each other which heightens conflict if they are fighting anger or attraction.

Historical fiction gives you a lot of leeway with confined settings because there were few or non-existent communication devices so there was no way to call for help. Also modes of transportation was limited so couples would have to stay put in their setting until the next stage coach, train or visiting neighbor came through their area.

Other confined settings for historical fiction could be:
A wilderness cabin
A covered wagon
A homestead
A riverboat
A line shack

Confined settings in contemporary fiction is trickier.  Everyone owns a cell phone so you can’t ‘lock’ your characters in an attic or department store because they can call for help. You can lock them in a building with thick walls where they can’t receive a signal or have both of their cell phones die, but if you do that you must create a very realistic situation like a raging thunderstorm or blizzard that knocks out power or if you write suspense, a kidnapping or hostage situation.
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A few ideas for confined contemporary settings are:

An airport

An off season hunting cabin

A National or State Park lodge

A rural retreat center

An abandoned warehouse.

Also keep in mind for confined settings in contemporary novellas that modes of transportation are more readily available. A hunting cabin right off of a main state highway isn’t a confined setting because a character with a broken down car can walk to the highway and hitch a ride. However, if the characters were deep into a forest leaf peeping, got lost, and stumbled across a hunting cabin, it can be a confined setting.

Almost any place can be a confined setting if your reason for the character(s) to be there is believable. Don’t hesitate in either historical or contemporary to use the weather. A blizzard, tornado or flash flood can all be devices to get your characters ‘stuck’ in a confined setting.
Now let’s have some fun. Share your confined setting ideas. Either one you’ve used while writing a story or read in a favorite book or novella.

******

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There are two chances to win a book today. One commenter will receive her latest release, Lassoed by Marriage. Another commenter will receive her previous book with Barbour Publishing, Dakota Love.

BIO: Multi-published author and RITA finalist, Rose Ross Zediker, writes contemporary and historical inspirational romances and has over one hundred publishing credits in the Christian magazine genre for children and adults. Her titles have appeared on ECPA bestseller lists and been finalists for the RITA, National Reader's Choice, Booksellers Best and Book Buyers Best award contests. Rose is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.
or look for her on Twitter as @SDAuthor.




126 comments :

  1. Hi Rose,

    Glad to see you in a collection.

    Thanks for the tips.

    I'm just starting my third novella, so am adjusting to those tight word count restraints.

    There's coffee.

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  2. Welcome, Rose. Almost any setting could work for this, a secluded town. Or a remote sanctuary (although, to be truthful they are only forced together by his boss). I'd loved LASSOED BY MARRIAGE, though I don't think I've read the other one either!

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  3. Tight word counts I can handle. However I have not considered confined settings as a novella plot device. Great, great idea. I have used it once in a novel, Stranded with the Rancher, but that's it.

    Must think on this.

    And welcome back to Seekerville, btw!!

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  4. Hi Rose:

    I love the idea of confinement. I have my "Stranded in a Cabin with a Romance Writer" -- a meta-romance.

    There are many kinds of confinement.

    Confinement can be voluntary:

    1) psychology experiment
    2) two writers sharing a cabin in a race until they finish their novellas
    3) two believers waiting in a power vortex outside Sedona waiting for enlightenment (See: "Sedona Vortex Hunting" by Joseph Campbell)

    Confinement can be open ended:

    1)walking deserted stretches of the Appalachian trail -- you can walk for miles but you must stay on the trail
    2) lighthouse keepers on remote island -- relief ship comes once a month
    3) bird counting on a remote Galapagos island (see "The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time" , Jonathan Weiner.)


    Confinement as involuntary

    1. abduction, "Yule Die", Novella, 5-Star
    2. light plane crash in Grand Canyon area, no flight plane, no one knows you are missing (One of Linda Howard's Mackenzie novels).
    3. Woman in home with mental illness (The Yellow Wallpaper).
    4. Helping a heroine with agoraphobia ("Autumn Rains" -- a little bit)

    It's a great concept.

    I better call it a day. Please enter me in for a Kindle version of either book.

    Vince

    P.S. Reach for the Stars!

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  5. As a reader sometimes I feel that even a small town has kept the characters confined. They can't avoid each other.

    Count me in thank you.

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  6. Mary Preston, I agree. I see small towns (even modern ones) that way, especially if the hero and heroine both work in the small town. It's like there's NO ESCAPE!!!!

    I used a confined setting in "A Town Called Christmas" (Hope for the Holidays historical) set in a little town in Idaho back in the 1880's... A stranded wagon train, and the hero offered the widow and her little girl a job to help him and his father restore order to their house and their lives... and she cleaned up well! :)

    And in Prairie Promises when the hero came west to drag his mother back to Philadelphia and he had to stay in a SODDY!!!!! EEEEEEEK!!!!!! and the very pregnant neighbor was staying with his mother, and they fell in love because why wouldn't a man of substance and wealth in Philadelphia fall in love with a pregnant Irish girl in a soddy outside Omaha???? She was his destiny, I tell you! (Homestead Brides, Barbour Books)

    It's kind of fun to trap folks, and shake them up and see what happens!

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  7. Grabbing coffee, thank you, Helen!!!!

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  8. I've never thought of using setting as a plot device in a novella - but it would definitely be helpful when words are limited. Nice.

    I guess often in suspense it is a proximity thing -if the hero and heroine are forced to work together and trust one another (because there isn't anywhere else they can turn) it serves a similar purpose.

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  9. Good morning, ROSE! Great tips for confined settings! And you're right -- while technology is wonderful, it DOES limit excuses for not being in contact with the outside world. A few books back, I did have the heroine not be able get signal bars in the mountains when she had car trouble, but that's not something I can do in EVERY book! I can see, too, how a confined setting could play an especially important role in a novella-length story. Thank you!

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  10. Welcome to Seekerville, Rose! I haven't written a novella at this point, but with the popularity on the rise, I need to get on it. It seems using a confined setting might help to keep the word count down.

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  11. Hi Helen,

    Thanks for the coffee! I need today is my Monday since yesterday was a holiday for me.

    Good luck with your novella. You are turning into a writing a machine! (I mean that in a very good way!)

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  12. Hi Jill,

    You are correct! Once you describe the setting once, it isn't necessary to keep describing it. Readers know where you are and that does cut down on word count.

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  13. Hi Marianne,

    Glad you stopped by! Good luck in the drawing.

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  14. Hi Tina,

    Thank you for allowing me back on Seekerville!

    Since I write short stories too, the word count restraints of a novella are really no problem, but it does help to have one setting to work with.

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  15. Vince!

    I didn't even think of a light house setting. That is a perfect confinement!

    Thank you for the great examples!

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  16. Hi Mary,

    Small towns can be confining! I grew up in a town of 250! HA! You are right, anywhere you turn in a small town you run into someone you know or would know the hero/heroine and report back.

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  17. Hi Ruthy,

    Soddy house! See I didn't even think of that! A couple couldn't be more trapped together.

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  18. Hi Rachel,

    I think in suspense novels you have to keep the couple moving, but basically they are always 'confined' because they are forced to be together! Right?

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  19. Glynna,

    Yes, technology can work against a writer who wants to strand her characters. You want to have a very good reason the technology isn't working. It brings me back to what my agent told me, if it's an easy fix, i.e. a conversation, the storm passes that blocked the cell signal, etc. then it's not going to work in the story unless you can make it very, very believable.

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  20. Seekerville Ladies,

    THANK YOU for hosting me today. It's always a blast being here!

    I will be heading to the day job in a little while, but will try to check in during the day and this evening.

    I can't wait to read all the ideas for confined settings.

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  21. Hi Rose:

    How about Psychological confinement? As when your belief system alienates you from the "Lonely Crowd".

    How about spiritual confinement? As when you have isolated yourself from God and feel alone in a meaningless universe. (Lots of LI stories).

    How about being confined by your reputation? As in 'Who Shot Liberty Valance?" when a gun fighter can not out run his reputation as the fastest gun in the west.

    How about obsessional confinement? As being a prisoner of an idee fixe and this greatly restricts your life choices. The heroine in "The Price of Victory" must win races to win her father's love and all else in life is secondary. (A great book with my favorite hero).

    How about semi-confinement? As when the heroine is trapped, there is no time to get help, but the hero is as free as a bird to save his own skin? (As the heroine has done to him in the past!) Also, as when the hero has a crazy wife in the attic? (Sounds classic to me).

    Again, this is a very interesting concept. I'd say it has legs! I'd even say it can work very well even in a 500 page romance!

    Vince

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  22. I loved this post, Rose. I think you just helped spark an idea for my next novella. Thanks for some great ideas. I'm going to pop in and out today to see what ideas everyone comes up with :)

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  23. Ya' gotta love a hero with a crazy wife in the attic, Vince! Mr. Rochester.... so burdened, sooooo very tortured, and my beloved Jane Eyre. Gosh, I loved that story! When I was twelve it held all of the tortuuuuuuured drama teen girls thrive on!

    Vince, those are great examples of non-physical confinement. And I love the idea that while in a suspense you're not generally locked in one place (although sometimes it is that way with a bodyguard setting) you're joined at the hip as you evade danger.

    I am starting my second writing sprint of the day, we have a gorgeous 6 or 7 inches of fresh snow (first snow this winter!!!!) so I'm diving right into writing summer romance! And no doubt in spring, I'll be writing Christmas romance... because such is the life of an author! Out of season, a little whacked, but loads of fun!

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  24. Love the use of confined settings. Always sparks! I didn't realize it's a plot device, especially in Novellas until this post. How cool! Thank you Rose. I have both books, no need to enter me in the drawing.

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  25. Christina, it's so good to see you over here!!! WAVING!!!!!

    Confinements:

    Storms. Blocked roads/wires down, tornadoes, hurricanes, shelters, Red Cross volunteers

    School lock down, snipers on the loose.

    Hostage situation.

    Trapped ABOVE a hostage situation, no way down, and no one knows you're there. (think high rise with terrorists on first floor)

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  26. Thanks for sharing these tips, Rose! You reminded me of a contemporary book ms. I wrote maybe 30 years ago where a young woman in danger was hiding out in an isolated beach house.

    Several years later, after my writing skills had developed a little more, I wanted to try to rework that book. However, by then, cell phones were becoming ubiquitous (love that word--thanks, RUTHY!), so my "confined setting" was no longer as confined.

    Never did figure out a solution, so the story is still languishing at the bottom of my filing cabinet.

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  27. I don't know if I'm even AWARE of this, Rose, but in my novellas, very often the only setting will be a small cabin and a barn, the characters rarely even go out and ride the range.
    This makes scene setting really easy for me.

    Now I have a word for it! :)

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  28. Interesting, Vince.

    I love The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and never thought of a reputation as being confining. Yet is/can be!

    You always have a great take on a topic.

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  29. Christina,

    I'm glad the blog post sparked an idea for you. I never know if I'm hitting a mark with my blog posts or not!

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  30. Hi Just Commonly,

    I'm glad you stopped by and shouted out a 'hey'!

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  31. Ruthy,

    LOVE being in a high rise above terrorists and no one knows you're there. Are you writing that?

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  32. Myra,

    Technology really does make it tricky. Cell phones can die, but most of us always have our charger available, don't we? And storms can block signals, but they don't usually last days and days. However, in your case, could the cell phone be dead and the power out?

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  33. Hi Mary,

    Yes, you've used many confined settings in your full length books. Once people are snowed in they are there together until spring!

    I do think it's easier to come up with isolated settings for historical books versus contemporary.

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  34. Rose, great to have you post side in Seekerville! I've kept my heroes and heroines close with marriages of convenience, shared responsibilities and proximities but I've never used a confined setting. Thanks for the tips! I'm tucking this away for future stories.

    I wonder if using a confined setting would get past editors, as men and women in the past couldn't be alone without a chaperone. If they were, they often were forced into marriage.

    Janet

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  35. Welcome back, Rose! I loved how your post got me to thinking of ways to trap my characters together. My stories are contemporary, so it's a little more difficult. But all my stories are in small towns, so that helps! :)

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  36. Love this post, Rose. I like the idea of a confined setting help with the word count. It's almost like the setting is another character, so to speak. Your post has sparked the ol' creative muse. Yay!

    Would LOVE to be in the draw for either book, but my druthers would be Lassoed by Marriage.

    Looking forward to reading more comments throughout the day. I'm thinking there will be much creative fodder.

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  37. BTW, I'm actually working on a proposal set on a horse farm right now (for a full length novel). I'm wondering how to get other people involved (besides farm workers) to make the story richer. So I kind of have the opposite problem at the moment! I need to create a small town nearby.

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  38. Happy birthday, Chris!! We're glad you stopped by today. :)

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  39. Congratulations on your latest release, Rose!

    I live in California's Gold Country and write historicals set in the area, so the confined settings that come to mind are a mine shaft, an abandoned town where the gold has played out and a remote miner's shack.

    I haven't used a confined setting in a story yet, but I do my best to force my hero and heroine into close proximity. In my first LIH, Tess works as Spencer's housekeeper and cares for his two children, so much of the story takes place on his ranch outside of town. In my second LIH, A Home of Her Own, coming out in March, Becky comes West to care for James's ailing mother. He lives on an apple orchard outside a different small town, and the majority of the story takes place there.

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  40. Hi Myra:

    I really like your idea of a beach house hideout. (I like beach settings).

    How about some irony? The heroine, a cell phone saleswoman, has two cell phones that work but her adversaries are high level bad guys and they have GPS trackers and any use by the heroine of her phones will instantly give away her exact location.

    Turn technology into the problem and not the solution.

    Now write that story and I'll preorder it on Amazon. : )

    Vince

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  41. Good ideas, Rose! I see these a lot in murder mysteries.
    I agree with the concept that a small town could be a sort of confined setting. We lived in a small town in northern Wisconsin where there were 500 people, 400 of whom were Johnsons. And I "cover" a couple of small towns in my newspaper day job. It's hard to get away from people you know or are related to, especially when you're trying to enforce laws against nepotism in town jobs.
    Confined settings can be like a crucible and if an H and H are in one, it makes them or breaks them. And since this is Christian romance, eventually it makes them.
    I haven't done a formal confined setting yet, as in island or mansion or shack with blizzard, blocked roads or power outage. But my Oregon Trail story is a confined setting (albeit a REALLY BIG ONE), because Caroline and Michael are forced together for the 2,000-mile journey, and they have some Very Big Baggage besides what's in the wagons. He can't leave because it's his job, and she can't leave because how is she going to get back East by herself?
    I am hoping to do a novella for Speedbo, if the day job cooperates.
    Kathy Bailey
    Learning stuff in NH

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  42. OH OH OH, and those of us who do Westerns have a natural "confined setting" because ranches and farms are usually WAY out of town.
    KB

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  43. Good morning Seekerville!

    Rose, thank you for this explanation of confined settings. It is laid out in an easy to understand way. I've had some exposure to this tool, but haven't used it a whole lot since I write non-romantic historical, but I think there is still room for it in other genre's too.

    In my current WIP, the hero and antagonist are confined together because they're both serving in the army, and the antagonist is his superior officer.

    In one of my Biblical fiction books, the heroine and mentor are confined together in a leper colony.

    Any thoughts on ways to use Confined Settings in non-romantic genres?

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  44. I would love to be in your drawing, Rose....have not read either book but would like to!

    Hi to Glynna K......I am ALMOST finished reading "Rekindling the Widower's Heart".....loving it!
    I will soon have my hands on Janet's newest and Ruthy's newest......what exciting days ahead for me...lol.

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  45. Hi Ruth:

    About writing summer set books in winter is something I've had to do for years when writing advertising for Christmas promotions in July.

    I put up Christmas decorations and played Christmas music in my office and welcomed anyone who came in with a cheerful "Merry Christmas". This worked great as far as getting into the right mindset. It also worked with pleasing higher management because they thought crazy ad people wrote better ads.

    Vince

    P.S.Think reverse psychology. Just take an AlpaSmart and go out into that snow and write your best stuff. (Note my picture.)

    P.P.S. Wasn't the heroine in "Red Kettle Christmas" kind of confined by the beliefs at the time about unwed mothers? I think this was a factor in the pathos of the story.

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  46. Hi Rose,
    I'm laughing to myself because last night I edited a scene in my wip where the hero and heroine must rescue a child in a snowstorm and then they have to get him warm as soon as possible. They find an old hunting cabin in the woods and are stuck there together until the storm lets up! Confined setting! Didn't even know there was a term for that! LOL.
    Great topic!
    Your book looks lovely!
    Cheers,
    Sue

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  47. Hey, Rose, never thought about this, but you are SO right about a confined setting, not just in a novella either!

    In my second book, A Passion Redeemed, I needed a way to keep the hero and heroine together for enough time for them to really care for each other, but my hero wanted nothing to do with the heroine. So I had to have the heroine physically beaten up by an abuser fiance so she would incur a broken leg, arm, etc. at the same time she needed to get out of Dodge (or Dublin, as the case may be). So the hero is coerced into taking her home to Boston on a ship where he not only has to carry her everywhere, but be in the stateroom next to her to help her get dressed, take her to the bathroom, restaurant, etc. Talk about confined spaces! ;)

    Like Tina, I never thought about confined spaces, so I agree this is a brilliant point to consider, Rose, THANK YOU!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  48. Hi Rose:

    I always thought Mary's novellas would make great radio plays or one to two act stage plays. I can actually visualize a little theater production of the novella where the story opens with someone falling off a cliff and landing near the heroine ... or does he land on her? (It's a real cliff-dropper.) And while a novella may have only one major setting, that one setting can still have a great deal of variety.

    Idea: When word count is limited, think like you're writing a one act stage play. In this case the character is not confined, the author is.

    Vince

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  49. Rose, I don't mind reading a story in a confined setting as long as it is logical and doesn't seem more for the writer's convenience than for the benefit of the story. Does that make sense? :-)

    I tend toward historicals, but I recall one fun contemporary romance in which what I now realize was the confined setting was a car. The characters weren't in the car all the time, and one time near the end, the car was destroyed while they were inside a restaurant. That really upped the stakes!

    Thanks for making me aware of this. I can see how it would be a huge help in novellas.

    Congrats on your new release!

    Nancy C

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  50. Confined settings are like camping. You REALLY, REALLY know someone after you've camped with them. Which is why I don't camp.
    KB

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  51. Great points, Rose! I enjoy writing novellas but it never occurred to me to use a confined setting. It's a perfect solution to keeping the hero and heroine together when the story length is so limited. I write historical so this is really helpful. Glad there weren't always cell phones.

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  52. Hi Janet!

    Yes, that is a concern with inspirational historical books. You'd need to have a chaperone of some type.

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  53. Good morning Rose.

    I had a scene in suspense book where my claustrophobic heroine gets locked in a cellar by the bad guy. It was dark, she was alone and had no cell phone. I loved it until I realized how hard it was to come up w/new scenes.

    You gave me a lot of things to think about.

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  54. Great subject, Rose. I was ready to make a comment about needing that third person in a confined setting, then saw your answer to Janet's comment. I always add a "chaperon" of sorts, even in a contemporary suspense, although I think LI has become a bit more lack with that requirement. I need to ask my editor about the current rule of thumb!

    I used a hospital laboratory in my first novella/confined setting...and another was set in a mountain cabin, although they did escape to a cave in hopes of eluding the bad guys. Love remote settings and lots of danger!

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  55. Laughing at kaybee. I don't camp either.

    Does a nice hotel count?

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  56. Waving to Vince! Thanks for mentioning "Yule Die," my first novella...set in a hospital laboratory. :)

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  57. Even with a chaperone in the confined space, the hero and heroine can have quiet conversation, furtive glances and unplanned touches that up the sexual tension and keep the romance and the conflict front and center. Where there's a will there's a way. :-)

    Janet

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  58. GPS tracking--great idea, VINCE! No hiding from anyone anymore in the age of cellphones!

    Except . . . this old, old ms. is so horribly out of date, I could now probably rewrite it as a historical--LOL! (Not to mention it's got some other most likely unfixable problems, too.)

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  59. Rose, I just love the idea of a confined setting and your tips have my mind a whirling! All the comments are helpful too, with lots of ideas to explore! Congratulations on your new release!! I'll look forward to reading it!!

    Hope you all have a fabulous Tuesday!! We're drenched here...with a Flood Advisory and a Warning of possible power outages!! LOL...perfect confinement setting!

    Chuckle for the morning: DO NOT DRIVE YOUR VEHICLE INTO AREAS WHERE THE WATER COVERS THE ROADWAY. THE WATER DEPTH MAY BE TOO GREAT TO ALLOW YOUR CAR TO CROSS SAFELY. MOVE TO HIGHER GROUND.

    Makes me think of the grand old hymn, "LORD PLANT MY FEET ON HIGHER GROUND" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYCkqCG933M

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  60. Thanks Vince.

    Does anyone do radio plays anymore? If not it's way harder to arrange. :)

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  61. I'm writing a book right now and during the week I realized I wanted the very big rock and log ranch house to have a massive fireplace.

    Revisions are done with book #1 and the intro novella. :(
    I'm trying to work the fireplace in now and I probably can't. What a missed opportunity.

    I'm sorry....this has nothing to do with your blog post. But it's about creating a really vivid description of a room I use a LOT.

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  62. Kathy and Rose, in my small hometown of about 600 I knew two couples who were separated and on the verge of a divorce but they ended up together all the time. They went to the same small church. They had kids in sports and they always sat in the same place.

    It was almost too much work to be divorced.

    They both patched things up. One did end up divorcing years later, but the wife moved far away to live near a daughter, it was like she had to escape the orbit they were both trapped in.

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  63. So yes. Small towns are confined spaces. :)

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  64. Rose, I love the confined setting. Stick two people together where they can't get away from each other and let them struggle! Great ideas for settings. Thanks for a great post!

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  65. Vince, yes, confinement based on society mores!

    I play my favorite Christmas hymns when I'm writing Christmas stories out of season. Not while I'm writing, I like quiet, then, but before I write. And in the car. And in the evening. And in the garden....

    And yes, the neighbors might hear me.

    :)

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  66. Hi Rose Welcome to Seekerville and thanks for the great tips. Any way to keep the word count down is a good thing. smile

    I tend to b wordy, so a single setting certainly helps. I'm writing a story now in the forest in Northern Arizona. I'll have to think about limiting the area.




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  67. Welcome Rose! Congratulations on being a part of The Lassoed by Marriage collection. Great post today. Lots of tension can build up in a confined space, which makes for a great read.

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  68. Julie, you may not have thought of it, but you sure executed a confined setting well in Charity's story!

    Rose, I'm learning so much this week in Seekerville! Thanks for the intriguing topic. Story threads abound in Indiana with lots of confined setting potential....

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  69. Vince, love all those other aspects of confinement!!! Great ideas!!!

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  70. Kathryn Barker! Stay safe. Although you did make me chuckle. Thank you for that!!

    I am still laughing.

    We get flash floods here and I am still stunned at how many people think cars are amphibious vehicles.

    Whoa. That's a confined setting!!!

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  71. Hi Mary:

    You wrote:

    "Revisions are done with book #1 and the intro novella. :(
    I'm trying to work the fireplace in now and I probably can't. What a missed opportunity."


    No problem. Have a chapter end with one of your famous explosions near the log cabin wall. When the wall has to be rebuilt include the giant fireplace that the heroine always wanted in the first place. (I call this giving the reader 'little victories' along the way.

    And this:

    "Does anyone do radio plays anymore? If not it's way harder to arrange. :)"

    While there is still a small market for original radio plays, Audible is producing 'audio plays' which are original and don't come from a book.

    I think there could be a profitable market created for special audio plays if the medium can be used in a way that it produces an entertainment experience that could not be created in any other way. There are probably some stories that are best told only with voice.

    Vince

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  72. Hi Myra:

    Your wrote:

    "Except . . . this old, old ms. is so horribly out of date, I could now probably rewrite it as a historical--LOL! (Not to mention it's got some other most likely unfixable problems, too.)"

    First: that is very possible. I was in NYC during the same time that Ruth's "Red Kettle Christmas" historical novella takes place!

    Second: yesterday's 'unfixable problems' fuel today's breakout novels! Stumbling blocks make great stepping stones.

    Vince

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  73. Hi Rose,

    I'm reading The Lassoed by Marriage romance collection right now (at the same time I'm reading a Janet Dean LI) but I haven't gotten to your novella yet. I look forward to it now to check out your confined location!

    As I was writing this, I tried to imagine a confined contemporary setting. Tomorrow they're forecasting an ice/snow event in Nashville that's sure to knock out power, some cell towers, and make it impossible to drive on side streets, let alone in rural locations. They're not as well equipped here to deal with those weather conditions as Michigan or other northern climes. If it was followed by more freezing weather, a couple could get stranded for a week or more in the mountains, she says gleefully. :)

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  74. Very interesting, I've often thought about a confined setting. Sounds like you could get lots of close emotional dialogue going on.

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  75. Rose, Thank you for sharing this post. I never thought about it before but limited setting makes perfect sense. I have the Lassoed book but you can put name in for the other one. Have a great day.

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  76. Not envying your ice/snow event, BARBARA! Stay safe and warm!

    VINCE, one of these days I may have to pull out that old, old ms. and take another look. It would be quite a departure from my currently published books, however. There's a supernatural/spiritual warfare angle I might have to rethink.

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  77. Hi, Rose! I enjoyed reading your novella, Railroaded by Love! I remember thinking how clever the idea of a chapel car with living quarters for a preacher. Very sweet story.

    Thanks for being here today and sharing these tips!

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  78. Hi Julie:

    You wrote:

    " So I had to have the heroine physically beaten up by an abuser fiancé so she would incur a broken leg, arm, etc. at the same time she needed to get out of Dodge (or Dublin, as the case may be). So the hero is coerced into taking her home to Boston on a ship where he not only has to carry her everywhere, but be in the stateroom next to her to help her get dressed, take her to the bathroom, restaurant, etc. Talk about confined spaces! ;)"

    A confined space on the open endless ocean! Love it!

    I remember this scene because it so well does what I want to most see in a historical novel. That is, I want the history to figure into the plot so that the story could only happen when and where it did and not fit easily into any other time period.

    So many historical novels really use history as wallpaper...that is, the story could easily have happened a hundred years before or afterwards.

    I immediately admired this scene because it met my history test and it fully rewarded the reader with a virtual voyage on a turn of the century luxury ocean liner. (The golden age.) This took a lot of research but it was a truly rewarding reading experience.

    Vince

    P.S. Just to give you an idea of what I don't like in a historical novel consider this: a LI historical romance that took place just after the French Revolution. The heroine was rich and is now running away from a date with the guillotine. She is injured and is hidden in the back bedroom of the hero's farm house. She spends many days recovering in that dark room. This story line in this setting could have happened any time over the past 1000 years. I never finished it. What a waste of France! Being confined is not enough. : )

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  79. Hi Rose. Glad to see you in Seekerville today, and so glad I was able to meet you in person on Saturday! This was a very interesting topic. I haven't thought much about the topic of confined space. The issues with cell phones is certainly true in how hard it is to keep someone totally isolated. But I think it is believable a phone could die. Mine doesn't even last the whole day any more and I don't usually carry a charger with me. I notice this a little bit in watching TV shows or movies. To isolate a character, they have to explain why they wouldn't have a cell phone-usually because the battery died, they can't get reception, or they forgot it. When I watch old shows, I often notice how certain scenes would have to be done differently today because of the cell phone issue.

    I have Lassoed by Marriage but would love to be entered in the drawing for Dakota Love.

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  80. Cars DO NOT swim. Unless we're in Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang country. Which was creepy. So let's not go there.

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  81. I enjoyed the main characters stuck in a cave in a canyon with raging rapids in Mary Connealy's Now and Forever. It was a desperate situation but they helped each other survive.

    Please include me in your giveaway!

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  82. Hi Missy!

    I'm glad my post inspired you to brainstorm confined contemporary settings! I recently read a books where the hero/heroine were thrown together in a school mixed with other people during a blizzard with a power outage. It was very effective.

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  83. Thank you, Kelli.

    It's always nice to see/talk to you! In historical books, a ranch or homestead is definitely a confined setting. They were far and few between.

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  84. Kaybee,

    I bet you do have a confined setting in your Oregan Trail book, a covered wagon! Seriously, a wagon train is another confined setting. Most people didn't stray away from the wagon train for fear of being killed. And it would give you the 'chaperone' you need for inspirational.

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  85. Hello again, Vince.

    YOU are coming up with great ideas for confined settings.

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  86. Hi Nancy,

    Yes, a car would be a great confined setting!

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  87. DebH,

    I hope you enjoyed all the creative fodder today. I think there is lots!

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  88. Hi Amber,

    Hmmm...confined setting for non-romantic book...a long train ride, a camp ground, a National Park?

    Any of those sound good to you?

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  89. Hi Jackie,

    Good luck in the drawing. I'm glad you stopped by and commented today!

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  90. Hi Julie,

    You are a master with a confined setting with that scenario!

    Thanks for having me here today.

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  91. Hi Cara,

    Confined setting really do help with word count on novella's. Plus you can concentrate on your plot more.

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  92. Hi Connie,

    Yes, that can be a downfall with a confined setting. You do have to make certain they can carry the story.

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  93. Hi Debby,

    Like you and Kaybee, I do not camp either! My husband says that my idea of camping is sleeping with a window open!

    Thanks for hosting me today.

    I remember your confined setting in Yule Tide. Worked great!

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  94. Kathryn,

    Thanks for stopping by and I'm glad I chose an interesting and thought provoking! blog topic.

    I hope the weather has improved in your area and you were never without power.

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  95. Hi Mary,

    Thanks for hosting me today! Yes, I know, small towns are confined spaces for sure!

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  96. Hi Meghan,

    Thanks for stopping by. I thought of another contemporary confined setting. A couple could get locked in a panic room.

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  97. Hi Sandra,

    All you have to do with your forest story is look into a smaller lens. Is there a waterfall area? A grove of a certain kind of trees?

    Am I helping or hindering?

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  98. Caryl, you are absolutely right! Put two people full of attraction and opposing viewpoints and the sparks will fly!

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  99. Sarah,

    Glad the post is helping you brainstorm.

    Thanks for stopping by.

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  100. Hi Barbara,

    Following weather or news stories could certainly lead to confined setting ideas.

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  101. Christine,

    The confined setting helps with plot and characterization too!

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  102. Bettie,

    Thanks for stopping by today. Good luck in the drawing.

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  103. Hi Natalie!

    I've been wanting to write a story with a chapel car setting since I learned of chapel cars and their historic contribution to society.

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  104. Hi Sandy!

    It was wonderful to meet you in person too! It's not only cell phones that have to be explained away in a contemporary, but tablets too. I know many people who carry their tablets with them everywhere.

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  105. Hi Heidi,

    Thanks for commenting today. Mary's books are wonderful!

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  106. Hi Myra:

    You wrote:

    " There's a supernatural/spiritual warfare angle I might have to rethink."

    Your comments about this old story make me think that maybe this situation is the literary analog of "You can't go home."

    Vince

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  107. I think one of my confinement settings that I like to read about is stranded in a snow storm. Where the hero has to "rescue" the heroine & they get confined in a cabin or something. In such tight quarters, sparks are sure to fly! But since they have to rely on each other, it makes for the start of a great romance (that's the wonder of fiction for you!). There are a lot of scenarios an author can use & I've read some great ones :-) Keep up the good work writers!!
    Please add my name for either book, thanks so much!

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  108. I love novellas as a reader. Enjoyed your post as a reader!
    Have a great day.
    Becky B

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  109. I loved reading your post! I used the confined setting of an old hotel in my Elmheart Hotel novella series. I have also used the confined setting of an island in the Pacific Northwest for a middle grade novel.

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  110. Hi Trixi!

    Thanks for your 'reader' support. Authors love to hear what plot scenarios that readers like.

    Good luck in the drawing!

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  111. BeckyB,

    As a reader, I also love novellas. I don't always have a lot of time to read so with novellas I feel like I've accomplished something.

    Thank you for commenting to get enter in the book drawing.

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  112. Mindy!

    Both settings, an old hotel and island, are GREAT examples of confined settings that could be used in both historical and contemporary books.

    Thank you for sharing them.

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  113. Nice post with great ideas, Rose.
    Thanks.

    My WIP is set on a cruise ship in the Baltic!

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  114. Great post! I love the idea of confined settings!

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  115. Great idea of confined spaces. Thanks for sharing!

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  116. I love the idea of confined settings, although I am not sure I would want to find myself I such a setting...lol. The books sound wonderful - I'm sure I would enjoy both very much.

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  117. KC-

    A cruise ship! Perfect contemporary confined setting! Good luck with your WIP!

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  118. Thanks for stopping by today, Edwina.

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  119. Hi Betti,

    Good luck in the drawing!

    I'm not sure I'd ever find myself in that type of setting either. I'm tend to be on the very cautious side! You know, staying home in a blizzard, not camping...you get the idea. : )

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  120. I enjoy the confined spaces or places for the setting ... seems to make things easier yet makes me think harder for variety and ideas .... Thank you, Rose.

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  121. Hi Shelli,

    You're welcome! It's always fun to brainstorm with friends.

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  122. I enjoy confined spaces in books because the characters usually have to brainstorm for a way to survive or resolve issues. I am really looking forward to reading Lassoed by Marriage and would love to be entered in the drawing for it. I have read and loved Dakota Love. Thank you.

    Deanne P.

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  123. Being stuck in a car in a snow storm or blizzard is pretty confining. Been there, done that. You may not be out in the middle of nowhere, but it isn't safe to get out to find shelter.
    One incident that happened when we were moving from northern NY State to Colorado was confining in a different way. We did hit a blizzard and I luckily had car trouble. We pulled off to check it and the interstate was closed shortly there after. With wind chill it was -100 degrees. We got the last room at a crummy motel at the exit. The snow blew in around the door and the room never got above 50 degrees. It was just myself, my husband, our two young daughters, a dog and a cat, 10 cases of vegetables I had canned, and my plants stuck in that room for 4 days. It was so cold, we had to carry the dog outside so her feet wouldn't freeze to the ground. We dashed to the greasy spoon restaurant attached to the motel for meals and spent our days all in the same bed trying to stay warm, cat and dog included. It was an experience and definitely confining.

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  124. I really enjoyed your post, Rose - thanks!!

    Please put my name in for the drawing - thanks!!

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