Thursday, October 13, 2011

Guest Post: A Geography Lesson with E.L. James

I am delighted to introduce an author who has stolen my heart through her words... E. L. James!

Geography Lesson
I am one of those writers who has to have a visual cue for everything I write about: places, people, boats, planes, whatever.  I also need to establish the physical geography in my head.  My husband – who did the first-pass edit on these books – used to be driven crazy by my incessant need to place the characters in a room, and to know where they were in relation to the furniture and each other.  I just couldn’t write the scene if I didn’t know.  So much so, that I actually drew upa floor plan for Christian’s vast apartment in Escala, which in real life is a building in Seattle.

When I first started writing this story Escala wasn’t finished.  On StreetMap you can see all the scaffolding etc as it’s being built:
Photo by Joe Mabel 3rd November 2008 – Licensed under Creative Commons
Now it towers over Seattle and one day, I hope to see it myself.
Still from Puget Sound Business Journal
Readers have been kind enough to take photographs of the building when they have visited Seattle, and send them to me.  Here’s the entrance… which I had to hassle poor JD for!

I have taken particular license with the interior of Christian’s apartment. For example, there are no double-height apartments available in Escala.  Christian’s is… all the better for displaying his works of art (of which more later.)

For those of you who might be interested, here is my rough drawing of the interior.   As you can see I am no artist, but it gave me a basic layout to work with:

That’s the downstairs – upstairs we have Taylor and Mrs Jones’s rooms, the Subs’ room, some spare rooms and of course the Red Room of Pain.  I’m not sure if there’s a playroom, – or ‘dungeon’ as some in the BDSM community prefer to call them – in Escala… who knows? But this the geography of all the gear in Christian’s:

Works of art also feature in Christian’s apartment.  Mostly cool, calming (Ana would say cold) abstracts in blues and grays.  Colour is not Christian’s thing, and his main pre-occupation with art is as an investment. The only place we find art with colour is the foyer, where he has a collection of Madonna-and-child portraits… I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about those.

Ana’s apartment –she spends very little time there in Fifty Shades Darker – is also modern. Its most striking element is the concrete kitchen island.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the original pics that inspired this.  I had a lot of fun trawling real estate websites, checking out all the apartments and houses, but the apartment I chose as Ana and Kate’s has since been sold, so the photos are no longer available!

I would definitely suggest to any aspiring writer to find visual cues to build scenes – they are so helpful.

I’ll leave you with this one, which inspired a scene in Fifty Shades Darker… ‘nuff said.

Thank you once again to all the lovely book bloggers who took part in this tour. It’s been great fun.

I can't thank you enough for stopping by and giving us a glimpse into your writing world!

E.L. James and The Writer's Coffee Shop is giving away an ebook copy of Fifty Shades Darker to two lucky readers! (check out my review)

Enter: Leave a comment below (including your email address).
Additional entries:
  (1) Follow E.L. James on Twitter
  (1) Follow E.L. James on Goodreads
This is an international ebook giveaway. MUST BE 18 YEARS OR OLDER to enter. The winner will be chosen at  The winners must respond within 48 hours or a new winner will be selected. One winner per household. Giveaway ends October 31st at 11:59 PST.

Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour:

Oct. 3 Interview, and giveaway at Sam, E & R's Awesomness!!
Oct. 3 Review, interview, and giveaway at Book That Thing
Oct. 4 Review, Guest Post and giveaway at My Life. One Story at a Time
Oct. 5 Review, guest post, and giveaway at Journey with Books
Oct. 6 Review, interview, and giveaway at Endlessly Bookish
Oct. 7 Review, interview, and giveaway at The Book Hookup 
Oct. 8 Review, guest post, and giveaway at Reading Lark
Oct. 9 Review and giveaway at Badass Book Reviews 
Oct. 10 Review, interview, and giveaway at Fiction Vixen Book Reviews
Oct. 11 Review , guest post and giveaway at Bona Fide Reflections
Oct. 11 Review, Interview, and giveaway at Under the Covers
Oct. 12 Review, guest post, and giveaway at Rob Pattinson Scene
Oct. 12 Interview and giveaway at Pattinson Post
Oct. 13 Review, guest post, and giveaway at The Write to Make a Living
Oct. 14 Review and giveaway at Better read than dead


Marce said...

I am loving that you had a rough draft layout of the apartment, that is to much, what a perfect idea. I quite enjoyed feeling like I knew where Ana and Christian were in the room, after awhile you do have your own idea in your head.

I have to say the Seattle building does nothing for me :-( I'm going to erase that from my memory and think more extravagent.

Lovely post, I so get the visuals.

Ollie said...

I am dying to read book 1 and 2! Everytime time I read a new review I get more excited!

+1 for Twitter Follow = DarkBloodyVamp
=1 Goodreads Follow = Ollie

Thank you for this giveaway!


Ollie aka DarkBloodyVamp

30dc3f28-f6a8-11e0-a3bb-000bcdcb8a73 said...

My name is Christina Nadeau, I live in Michigan in USA. I'm 28 (so I'm over 18 for sure.) :-)
So I went through a lot before I finally figured out what I was doing here, lol. I of course was already following E.L. on twitter so I have that one out of the way. My twitter name is VerucaMarie (just in case you needed to know.)
Also if I would have known about her Goodreads account before today you can believe I would have been on that before today as well. She is so amazingly talented and really truly inspirational and one of my idols. It is because of reading her stories online and then seeing her PUBLISHED that I decided to(after my family of course) start writing my own stories again. :-)
My email address is ChristinaMarieNadeau(at)yahoo(dot)com

jane anne said...

ELJ you are so cute having floor plans and everything wow!! :) I already follow on both goodreads and twitter (psychobitch 5) I wont leave my e-mail because I have just this morning finished reading 50 2'....'oh my'!! I can't wait for book 3 it is a fantastic series well done you!

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