The Writer’s Digest has tapped Northwest Arkansas author Barbara Youree for their annual July/August travel issue for 2020.
Her piece, “Everything Happens Somewhere,” offers tools for building backdrops and setting, useful information for writing fiction, non-fiction, memoir, or travel. She reminds writers that whether. . .
“. . . a novel, narrative nonfiction, or a short story, scenes come to life for the reader with use of vivid sights, smells, and sounds. Most writers are aware that their characters need physical description, including personality, mannerisms, quirks, and opinions. But it’s easy to overlook that these characters’ dialogs, actions, and thoughts need a physical backdrop, just as what happens in real life.”
Practical examples of her techniques can be seen in France My Way, Adventures of a Solo Traveler, her most recent book. Here she paints a picture of her first visit to the home of an elderly gentleman who has not yet made an appearance:
I sat in the soft chair Georgette had indicated. The room’s ambiance was definitely that of an elderly person: draped furniture, doilies under ancient lamps, musty volumes of Balzac and Molière on the shelves. Then I noticed the oil paintings that covered the walls, apparently all by the same hand. Since I love art, I stood to take a closer look: a little village from a hilltop viewpoint, street scenes, children at play, a cocker spaniel’s portrait, and one of a fresh grave, marked by a small wooden cross with a French flag tied to it. Trees, stripped by bombing, stood like sentinels behind spent cartridges scattered in the foreground.
This memoir of nine visits to France celebrates the travel destination that feeds the historian and artist in her soul.
Youree’s publishing background includes fourteen published books and more a hundred magazine articles. She is a consummate workshop leader, speaker, and writing teacher, having taught short courses at the Fayetteville Public Library and for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute sponsored by the University of Arkansas. Some of her books are featured at the website Fantastic Fiction and at GoodReads.