Thursday, November 10, 2011

Abandoned Spaces

The Ruins of Detroit, by Marchand and Meffre
North Princeton Development Center, Elenor Oakes
Unidentified space.
If you know this stairwell, please let me know.
This post is research for myself. I’m in the very beginning of something new. I have wisps of ideas that float in and out. Colors. Smells. Sounds. I have a setting in this world, but not this timeline, and key moments of time I can use to flip history on its ear. I have shocking moments, chilling snap shots, and characters that make me smile thinking about them. But, it’s all very ethereal at the moment. The pieces fall apart in my fingers. I need a space for it all to live in and I don’t have it yet.

For January Black, I needed a space that could satisfy Matty's wonder and cravings for information, so I built a library for Hadrian that was part special collection and part treasure vault. For Sam and Delilah, I need something that provides shelter…from the elements, the authorities, from world at large. I need somewhere that gives them space to breath, but not necessarily comfort.  I need an abandoned space and that presents challenges.

These are a few of my images of abandoned compartmental spaces that came up in a Google search. Each one showing signs of severe neglect, but very different. They are forsaken, but not empty.  Color has become a roommate of pattern and light in a crumbling space furnished by debris. The former occupants are gone, but their essence remains.

I look at these pictures and think about the tone of Sam and Delilah's safe house. They will have modified the space for their needs, but they hope their residency will be temporary.

As you can see from the pictures on the left, the sky is the limit really on how I could define this space. I can make it an abandoned house with very small rooms, or an entire floor of a condemned factory. Until I decide what the space was in it's past life,  my only limitation is the tone that I want to set.

Do I want their safe house to have a cold presence, and exaggerate it with color like the first photo of the Ruins of Detroit? Or have warmth like the stairwell in the fourth picture. Should it be sparse and institutional? Or have older character? Should it feel lonely and sad? How do I want Sam and Delilah to feel about the place? Likely they'll feel differently, but will one of them actually like living there? Which one and for what reasons?

These are some of the the reasons I chose not doing NaNoWriMo this year. World building, while extremely fun, is time consuming.


  1. Love these images!

    Nano has never quite worked for me. I tend to be a binge/purge writer (writing in large spurts then taking breaks).

    And with world-building, I'm with you. It always takes time for me, slows me down considerably.

  2. I like thw first and last images because they are more unique. But what do I know? LOL.