If I could live anywhere in the world…
Many of us wish we lived either somewhere more exciting or more peaceful, and this topic allows us to dream big. There are, however, a few of us who realise that we are sitting on a literary gold mine. For example, Peter Mayle tackles the joys of living abroad in a tiny French village in his bestselling books about his life in Provence. Interestingly, he is able to capture the flavour of this region and introduce it as a character in and of itself in both his fiction and nonfiction works—a tradition he has continued for more than a decade.
Mayle is known for bringing the sights, sounds, smells, and gustatory world of France to the page. He does this by recreating a rich and unique setting that was quite foreign to the majority of his readers when his first book, A Year in Provence, was published in 1989. His books revolve around his experiences with a community of characters where the mundane becomes interesting, and where the readers feel that they intimately understand his life and his neighbours.
Even if you think nothing ever happens in your own hometown, think again. Practice this technique, and write about your neighbourhood, or write about a place where you’ve always fantasized living. See if you can bring these locales to life, where the community itself plays a central role, not just as a setting, but as a character.
One word for mastery: Consistency.