Friday, February 26, 2010

Frankenstein Castle-- Thoughts on Character and Setting

When I wander, or flaneur-- the more accurate word I learned from Julie Larios (a poet and advisor at Vermont College), I sometimes think about setting and characters; how they are interrelated in story.
A character placed in another setting often means a very different story.
A good writing exercise (as well as an interesting way to get to know your character better) is to place the character in a different setting and write a scene.

Recently I visited Frankenstein Castle ruins which are near Darmstadt, Germany. The castle was built in the 1200's. Additions were added over the centuries; the towers are more recent than the walls and main structure. The castle is now in ruins, but the very small castle chapel (says 1556 in a stone on the outside) is still in good shape. The stunning floor tiles appeared to be from an earlier time period.

Many will connect this castle with Mary Shelley and her Gothic novel, Frankenstein. The castle is not actually connected with Shelley or the story. But the story was in the back of my mind when we wandered. It was a cold, foggy day--perfect atmosphere for visiting ruins.

Here are a few photos:

I wonder what the castle looked like 500 year ago.
It is fun to imagine.

The floor in the chapel

(If you happen to be in Germany for several weeks around Halloween, you could visit Burg Frankenstein for entertainment. (Sorry, the link is in German.) There is a restaurant on the premises, outside the castle walls.)

Place or setting can help build our stories. Setting can mold our characters. In some books setting is a character, such as in my WIP (work in progress). This novel, which is set in Brazil, could not take place in a different place.

1 comment:

Elena Jube said...

Great photos. I'm jealous--I love castles.