Setting in a Novel

Viv's best houseThis week I finished chapters 18 and 19 in my romantic alternative reality novel, Norman in the Painting. Jill Steele, the protagonist, doesn’t like to visit Viv, her older sister in their family home. When their parents died, Viv inherited the house, which Jill didn’t want anyway. Living there in her childhood  was not a happy time and the house, although the biggest and nicest one in town, gives her the creeps because her parents were judgmental and cold. The large framed picture of her deceased parents hangs in what used to be their bedroom but is now Viv’s. Jill feels their eyes staring at her with criticism as if they were real.

In three chapters so far, Jill has to go back to the house, once when Viv is intoxicated during a thunder storm and two times when Viv is not home.

I don’t want the house to be like a haunted house or old and rundown. Jill’s family was the richest and most politically well-known in their small town so it needs to be attractive but with some uncomfortable energy.

Does this photo fit my description? If not, why?

I appreciate any feedback since I will be using photos in my promotions.


Filed under Norman in the Painting

4 responses to “Setting in a Novel

  1. Gary Lea

    It looks like a nice upper-middle-class house but it looks kind of forbidding because it’s so dark. There are no interior lights on in the house. The exterior lights help some but it seems like there should be a light on in at least one room.Just my .02.


  2. ladywinfred

    Seems Jill’s parents, and certainly Vivien, were pretty full of themselves, taking their position as biggest frogs in the little pond seriously. I would think their family “manse” would be a bit more classically grand — huge veranda with white columns maybe, circular driveway, etc. They did have their portrait painted, after all — delusions of dynasty? As the gentleman above said — just my .02.


    • If they lived in the south, the huge veranda with white columns would be perfect, Ms Winfred, but even if they are the top family in this town, it’s a small lower middle class town in California so it would be built in the local styles but better than the stucco homes which would be the norm. Since you’ve read the chapters where Jill goes there, could this home in the photo sort of resemble Viv’s house? The Steele family wasn’t “old” money, more of a “dynasty” that Jill’s father built on his own.

      Thanks for your .02. It helped me figure out how the Steele money came about.


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