Location Lore – Snow Creek Inn

I’m one of those people who tend to notice continuity errors when I’m watching a movie or a television show. If a wine glass is half full in one shot and then full again in the following shot (and no one came to refill it, of course), I’ll probably notice.Snow Creek Inn Sign

It’s harder for readers to notice subtle continuity errors like that in a book because their viewpoint is limited to the visual details that the author chooses to bring to the reader’s attention. Continuity errors in books are more often something like a character’s hair color changing from one scene to another, or perhaps an accidental name change. Authors have an advantage over film makers in that a lot of the visual detail for the background of a scene is filled in by the reader’s imagination. The writer just has to provide a few critical cues about the content and feel of a room, and the reader does the rest.

Setting the Scene

To avoid continuity errors, I try to do the equivalent of “set building” either on paper or in my imagination. I’ve found that drawing the layout of a scene makes it easier to describe what the characters see, and it helps me plan the action of the characters who move through the scene. When you know everyone’s position, you don’t do dumb things like have a character look over her shoulder at someone who is actually in front of her. Oops.

Several of the scenes in my forthcoming book Vaetra Unveiled takes place in the Snow Creek Inn. The inn also contributes to the main character’s “inner knot” that he has to unravel during the course of the story. Because the inn plays such an important role, I decided to draw up a floor plan so I could describe the scenes that take place there consistently and accurately.

The Snow Creek Inn has two levels. The ground floor has the common areas, kitchen, and staff quarters. The guest rooms are on the upper floor, connected to the ground floor by a staircase. The inn shares an interior wall with a small, two-floor apartment on one side. The floor plan below shows more about what I’m describing (click the image to expand it, if you want a bigger view).

Snow Creek Inn Floor Plan

Most of the action involving the inn takes place in the main serving room, which includes the bar area. I drew the entire structure fairly early in my first draft so I would have a good feel for the overall size of the place and just in case I needed a scene in one of the guest rooms or in Jaylan’s apartment.

Snow Creek Inn History

Every building has a story, and the Snow Creek Inn is no exception. The following brief history is an excerpt from The Guide to Lakewoods Province, by bard Aerimous Fleetfoot.

The Snow Creek Inn is located in the West District of the town of Northshore on Cedar Street near the North Bridge. Visitors to the inn have a view of Snow Creek and the East District from the back guest rooms, or Cedar Street and the West District from the front rooms.

The Snow Creek Inn has existed for nearly as long as the town of Northshore itself. The inn was one of the earliest structures built when Northshore was established approximately 250 years ago. The building has been through multiple renovations and expansions over the years, but the main serving room still has log walls from the original construction.

Until a few years ago, the inn was owned by the same family of proprietors who passed the business down to their heirs. Recently, however, most of the family was wiped out by illness, and the few surviving family members chose to leave the area. They sold the inn to a former officer of the Imperial Guard who, along with his wife and young daughter, took over its operation.

Griz Onsul, the new proprietor, undertook a major renovation of the building, which had declined severely in prior years. Master Onsul upgraded the inn and brought it into a state of repair it had not experienced in decades. In fact, the upgrades to the inn taxed Master Onsul’s resources to the point where he brought on a partner, one Jaylan Forester, himself a Captain of the local Imperial Guard attachment.

With the additional capital provided by his partner, Master Onsul was able to complete the renovations on the main building, and business at the inn has steadily increased since then. Sadly, Master Onsul himself did not live to see the results of his efforts. He passed away just as he turned his attention from the main structure to the outbuildings that service the inn.

If you get a chance to visit the town of Northshore, be sure to stay at the Snow Creek Inn. The inn is now operated by Griz Onsul’s wife Luma, her daughter Dela, and his partner Jaylan. The bed linens are clean, the food is excellent, and the ale is cold.

Excerpt from Vaetra Unveiled

The following excerpt from Vaetra Unveiled takes place in the Snow Creek Inn’s serving room. Early in the novel, Jaylan meets with a young man who is in deep trouble and wants his help.

The young man walked slowly into the inn and hesitated just inside the door. He filled the opening more than most men, and his gaze scanned the room. When his eyes met mine I gave him a subtle nod.

He wound his way through the tables, looking aside at the other patrons several times. His caution made him conspicuous to anyone who watched him closely, defeating his obvious desire for secrecy.

When he reached my table, he remained standing and looked me over. “Jaylan?” he asked softly. I nodded again.

He swept into the chair next to me with a waft of stale sweat and damp wool. Tiny beads of condensed mist slipped off his cloak to the floor as he settled in. He glanced over at me with haunted eyes underscored by dark circles. Those eyes belied the smooth and softly bearded face of youth that came with them. He shivered, adjusting to the close warmth of the inn’s serving room. Scanning the room once more, he sighed and deflated into a hunch over the table.

He cleared his throat and spoke in a low, hoarse voice. “Thanks for meeting me. I’m Raleb.”

“No thanks necessary,” I replied. “Although I admit I’m curious. Your message was rather vague.” I took a sip of my ale and raised the mug toward Dela as she passed, tilting my head in the direction of the man next to me. She scowled down her nose at him but nodded in acknowledgement.

“Sorry about that. It had to be. It’s a sensitive matter.” He said as he ran a thin, shaking hand through his dark, wet hair.

“You should take off that wet cloak,” I suggested. “You’re freezing.” Our table was close to the fire, making my choice of seating comfortably warm. His soggy cloak had already started to steam a bit around his shoulders.

He shook his head. “Thanks, but I may need to leave quickly.”

It was as I suspected, then. This was a man on the run. I felt a stab of disappointment, thinking the odds were high now that the job would require me to do something illegal or at least unethical. I’d have to refuse the contract.


I hope you enjoyed getting a glimpse inside the Snow Creek Inn. Do you have any favorite locations from books you’ve read? Locations that are practically one of the characters in the book? Tell me in the comments!

Also, let me know of you’d like to see more Location Lore posts like this one.


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  1. I love how detailed you’ve been. And yes, I like posts like this one 🙂

  2. Thanks, Sarah. I’m glad you liked it. I’m planning to do more. It’s fun to do something useful with all that back-story work!

  3. It has a nice flow to it. Keep it up. Yes, I’d like to see more posts like this.

  4. Thanks for stopping by and giving feedback, Ken. I worry a little about using first person for fantasy, but it just feels right for this story. If the flow is nice, that’s a good sign!

  5. You would be a good dungeon master. With maps like that, I’d be so into it.

  6. Thanks, Michael. Yeah, the floor plan does have that dungeon map look, doesn’t it? I guess using 1/4" graph paper will do that! As a D&D player, you may have recognized the door notation and seen that Jaylan’s apartment has a couple of one-way secret doors that open into the hallways both upstairs and down.

    As a DM, mapping always was my favorite part of creating an adventure, and when I was a player, I’d always volunteer for map duty. Good times.