I looked for some resources online for this one. I thought a setting profile was a real thing, but I actually can’t find anything worthwhile. At least, not for the writing process. There are a ton of resources about how to do a setting analysis for current books and stories. So I’m just going to go with my gut here and write what I generally do when I’m thinking about the setting of my stories and novels.
In Bloodlines, I have decided to keep the exact location ambiguous. It doesn’t matter which New England community the girls live in, because the story takes place in predominately 2 locations, all of which are houses, and 2 that are fairly minor. For the sake of time, I’m just posting about the two major locations.
Known As: The Crowell Estate
Location: On the outskirts of the Ulysses Summer Camp
Description: The edge of the summer camp sits right at the boundary of the house’s front yard. The early colonial style is dominant on its face, and it noticeably seems to take after the early Victorian homes of the Brits. The colour of the house is brown and years of no use are evident as rot had long settled into the frame. The sides and back are covered by trees and vines, so most can only see the front. Two stories can be seen. The bottom level has a lot of natural light with two 5ft tall windows. The front door is nestled between the two. The top level is dark, with minimal windows. Two windows on this level were closed with shutters across them. Above those windows are two gables, one for each. This gives the house the look of constant disapproval, with two eyes, eyebrows raised and no smile.
From the inside, The Crowell Estate takes on a completely different look and feel. The front door opens into the staircase to the second level. To the right of it, the main entryway and living area can be seen. Just to the right and under the stairs is the hallway to the kitchen. The main living area has tattered furniture sitting in the middle of the room and the outer parts of the room are filled with shelves and tables. The windows are unblocked and many. Aside from the 5ft tall window, there are two other windows across the eastern most wall. To the left of the front door is the entrance into the study, but the doors have long since rotted and there is no way inside. The staircase has not succumbed to any rot, and the steps are near perfect. On the top level, at the top of the stairs lays one room. This room has only one small window, but the shape of it is quite small. It is a child’s nursery, so a rocking chair, table and bassinet are all that are inside. There are three more rooms in the house. To the right just past the stairs is the master bedroom. Across from it is another bedroom, and down at the very end of the hallway is one last room, the latrine.
History: The Crowell Estate is just under 250 years old. It was one of the first houses built when the area was colonised. Thomas and Nadia Crowell were founding members of the community, but the building of the house is shrouded in mystery. Thomas was a doctor, so he was not handy with tools. However, he had a lot of money, so it was believed that he organised people to build the house. But no one knows when or how. After it was built, Thomas suddenly passed and Nadia was pregnant with a child. She fell into madness, though, and the town sent a family in to save the babe. After that, Nadia is said to have perished from her own madness, but the house remained. It was uninhabitable, and it wasn’t long before ghosts were blamed. The town slowly moved away from the house and forgot about it. There have been attempts to enter and vandalise the house over the years. Especially after the 1970s when the Summer Camp was built, but all have ended with hints of hauntings. So the legacy continues.
Name: The Downings & Welch residences
Location: On the edges of town, across the street from an unused park.
Description: The Downings residence is a two-story house. The bottom floor holds the living area, the kitchen and a bathroom. On the top level, Shannon’s bedroom is the first room at the top of the stairs. The entrance is directly to the left. Mike’s bedroom is next to hers. A guest bedroom is across from Mike’s room, and the last room at the end of the hall is the master bedroom. Shannon’s room has enough room for a bed, desk, shelf, and chester drawers. Under her front bedroom window, she has a small space where she can sit and gaze outside.
The Welch residence is significantly smaller. The main living area is at the front of the house. To the left is Amanda’s bedroom. Between her room and her mother’s room is a small bathroom. Then on the opposite side of the kitchen is Lydia’s room, as it was an add-on when she invited Anne & Amanda to live with her.
History: Both houses are among the oldest in town. They were built as a manor and the servant’s house. Both are kept clean and painted because they are historic to the town, and because of the age, there are tiny areas in the houses where the servants could come and go without being seen. The tunnel leading the Downings house to the Welch’s house has long since caved in, but the hidden places are still very much available. Not much is known about the places, but the Welch family have owned the properties since they were built. In the early 1900s, though, their debt became too great, and the main house was sold for a large sum to cover the debt. Since then, the house has been owned by a handful of people. Because the Welch family history was lived through the walls of both places, there are a lot of things that Lydia protects to prevent the history from being released.
I’m trying to make drawings of all, but my artistic skills are fairly limited. Nevertheless, these houses almost act as another character in the story, so their history is almost as important as the way they look. Hope it comes across well, but I will be ironing this out even more before I start writing the book. 🙂