Manderley, in the novel Rebecca, was based on Milton Hall in Cambridgeshire, which du Maurier visited in her youth. In the novel she put it in the setting, which was the home she leased in the woods near Gribbin Head just outside Fowey. By drawing on locations she knew well, du Maurier created a novel in which the house itself becomes an important and moody character, just as Ryn Shell set out to ensure that the waterhole known as the Dreaming Billabong itself made enough impression on the reader that they would see it as an important character within the novel.
During early critiquing of the novel, the author resisted the suggestions by some to squash the Australian inland character of the novel, to change the Australian word billabong to lake and to make the work appeal more to an American reader. That would have been as disastrous as trying to recreate an English manor house from Rebecca in Outback Australia. By writing what they know, authors create realism in their plot settings, and readers are able to visualise the locations and feel the mood through the authors’ words.
P.D. James, Ryn Shell and Daphne du Maurier all created differing stories, since each came to writing with a differing set of experiences. As a starting point, you too can draw upon your own experiences and turn them into an unrecognisable form by using the Hero’s Journey. By using such a strategy, you can create a great novel.
In a well-crafted prelude to a novel, the author begins the process of building the world, location and mood for the story. Step-by-step, the picture-in-words is created. This opening stage of a novel should show an imbalance in your hero's world, and this imbalance needs to be resolved by the end of the novel.