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Authentic Setting

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The move from Virginia to Beaufort, discussed in my last blog, brought many changes. Almost all were positive. One change I never considered was the setting for Jury of One. When I began the book, I naturally put the locale in Middlesex County, Virginia where I lived. That allowed me to walk outside, look around, drive around, and note the kind of details a writer needs to make a setting feel authentic to readers. When I finally resumed work on the novel, that luxury was no longer available.

What to do? The obvious answer was to move the story to South Carolina. I caught a break because while the flora and fauna differ significantly, many commonalities made the process easier. For example, the capital of Virginia, Richmond, where the legislature meets, is more or less in the geographic center of the state. Indeed, that's why it was located there in 1780. Similarly, Columbia, the capital of South Carolina, occupies a central position in this state for much the same reason.

Another lucky parallel is the presence of water everywhere in both Middlesex and Beaufort counties. And both are flat. Had I relocated from Charlottesville or Roanoke, where foothills and mountains predominate, I would have had to adjust the story in more significant ways.

None of this made an ounce of difference until COVID arrived and I was pondering how to use the isolation productively. That's when I remembered the Jury of One story begun years ago. But could I find it after the passage of two decades? I'll cover that search in my next blog.


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