Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Scarlet Blog Tour + Amazing Giveaway

GUYS. I love Marissa Meyer. I love her books. And I love that she's on the blog today. But enough about me, Marissa is talking about Paris. And... GO.




When I decided to set SCARLET’S big climax scene in Paris, it was important to me to choose the perfect location for it to take place. I wanted something that had historical importance and beautiful architectural details that I could use to add realism and atmosphere to the story, but that wasn’t entirely overdone (like the Eiffel Tower or the Moulin Rouge).

In the end, and with some help from blog readers, I decided to set some of those critical scenes in Le Palais Garnier—the Paris Opera House.


As I mentioned before on the Scarlet Blog Tour, this posed one tiny little problem: I’ve never been to France! Which meant I had to be creative with how I researched the setting if I was going to do it justice.

I began with Google Maps—my go-to setting resource. Using Google Maps, I “walked” up and down the streets surrounding the Opera House, taking notes as to its impressive size, the intimidating porticos, the enormous gold sculptures of angels peering down as one approached the arched doorways.

I also spotted—or thought that I spotted—a fountain just across the street from the main entrance. And I thought: Perfect! I can use that. (We’ll come back to that later.)

I also spent some time searching for images of the Opera House’s interior, and reading the descriptions of different architectural materials described on the Opera House’s web site. Which was great, but… it still left me with a lot of questions, largely about the layout of the building. The Opera House has a small library in it… but where? I learned about a beautiful room called “La Rotonde de la Lune” and I knew I had to use it (for the Lunar reference, obviously), but… how does one get to the Rotunda?




It seemed I had hit a wall with my research until—bless the web site design team—I stumbled on a researchers dream.

A virtual tour exists on Le Palais Garnier’s web site.

Using the zoom, adjust, turn, and walk features, I was able to explore the Opera House in a way I never could have without buying an airplane ticket. I began to gather answers to some of those burning questions—where does that staircase lead? What’s through that door? How do we get to the theater balconies?

I could get a close-up look at many of the sculptures, decide if a ceiling should have murals or chandeliers or both, insert paintings or mirrors on the walls and determine if they should have gold frames or silver.

Naturally, of about ten pages of description I wrote down using the virtual tour, only a few paragraphs made it into the final book. But I hope those paragraphs will provide readers with the sensation of authenticity I was striving for.


The virtual tour isn’t perfect. It doesn’t go backstage (into the dressing rooms, prop storage, etc.), which meant I still had to use my imagination for some important areas. And the program is a little slow and jerky, which can get frustrating when you spend a lot of time with it. It’s certainly not like actually being there.

But—it made an enormous difference on the writing of these chapters.

It also saved my fountain scene.

Because, after I’d entirely rewritten the climax using the fountain I first spotted across the street, I made a disconcerting discovery. What I’d thought was a fountain on Google Maps was actually the entrance to the subway tunnels. Argh!

So I went back to the drawing board and spent some more time perusing the Virtual Tour of the Opera House. And what did I stumble upon, quite by accident?

A fountain! In the sublevel beneath the main foyer! (Or, at least, a basin… which was close enough.)



Clearly, that part was fate.

You can virtually tour the Opera House yourself HERE.
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Thank you so much for dropping by, Marissa. Le Palais Garnier is absolutely GORGEOUS. You couldn't have picked a better setting!

Here are some fantastic Lunar Chronicles-related links
Download the short story Glitches for 99 cents!
Download the short story The Queen's Army for 99 cents!
Check out all the other amazing blogs on the Scarlet Blog Tour

And now, for the fantastical giveaway courtesy of the incredible Macmillan. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

62 comments:

  1. I always thought going to France would be cool, but if I had my pick of places to go, I'm definitely want to go to Rome.

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  2. Europe, all of it. Probably not going to stay in hostels though, because I watch way too many horror movies, but Ireland, England, Germany, Italy, France, all are must sees, but I'd also love to see Sweden... Hell, I'll just take a world tour!

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  3. I'm in the middle of the book now. I'm enjoying it. I've been to France once, but the Opera House was being renovated and it was CLOSED! (And Phantom is my absolute FAVORITE!!) Thanks for the link to the virtual tour. BTW... you deserve a trip to Paris, so get on that!

    I would love to go to Paris again, but if I were to pick somewhere I haven't been, it would probably be Switzerland or Germany.... Australia would be nice too....I could go on....

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  4. Though I'd like to tour the entire globe in depth, I'm still kind of obsessed with Sami culture and the way language and culture morphs as you travel along the ring around the most northern groups of humans near the pole. So, starting in the very top or Scandinavian

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  5. Right now, Central America. I want to see all those Mayan ruins!!

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  6. I can't wait to read Scarlet!!
    And I'd love to tour Japan. It's a country I've always wanted to visit.

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  7. I would go to the UK mostly London

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  8. That place is gorgeous - and I would totally want to drop by one day when I finally visit Paris. I love that Marissa thoroughly researched this site, just to get a better feel for it before writing it into her book. I recall the scenes included in that particular setting - she did a fab job with the descriptions!

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  9. I would looooooove to go to Paris. I have been obsessed with going there ever since I started taking French

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  10. I'd love to go to Greece.

    Thanks for the post, and for the giveaway!

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  11. Peru! I want to climb machu picchu.

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  12. I would want to go to Paris, a city I hear so much about, but have never been too.

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  13. I've been to Paris, but would go back in a heartbeat - Marissa, you must go one day!

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  14. So cool to read! I loved Scarlet and especially enjoyed the scenes in the opera. Glad you searched for something beyond the Eiffel Tower and the Moulin Rouge!

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  15. I've been to Le Palais Garnier *smug face*

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  16. Thank you for this virtual tour. It was really nice to share it here. Now, I am excited to get a copy of Marissa's book. Surely, reading amkes a good pas time this weekend.

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  17. I would definitely go to Italy, I really love that country! Thanks a lot for the giveaway!

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  18. I would love to visit the UK.

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  19. Australia : ) so that I can try surfing

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  20. I'd love to go to the British Isles - England, Ireland, Scotland, etc...

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  21. Wonderful! I would love to here, it's so grand! I also have a certain version of Phantom of the Opera which gives a brief description and history of the famous opera house. It is so neat!

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  22. If anywhere, Hogwarts! Magic, please.

    Somewhere real, I dunno. Maybe Vancouver. I'd really like to do Lululemon's half marathon.

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  23. I would go tour Europe! There's just so much culture there, I can't just pick one city, or country for that matter.

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  24. I would love to visit Italy! It looks so beautiful!

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  25. i would wanna go to Paris or Brazil

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  26. Hello,

    Could you tell me please if this giveaway is international?

    Thank you!

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  27. This is a really hard choice. I'm just gonna give a top 3, because I can't decide: Egypt, Italy, and Greece. :)

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  28. Ive always wanted to go to Greece! It's so beautiful there!

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  29. Paris. I know it sounds cliche but I have been in love with the city since FOREVER!

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  30. I have ALWAYS wanted to go to New York City! Ever since I was a very little girl! I remember watching all of these children's movies with the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State building, etc. and just knowing I wanted to go there one day!

    I have this HUGE list of things I was to do NYC, and I REALLY hope to do them one day! They involve anything from seeing a Broadway show, to getting a hotdog from a hot dog cart on the street, to getting a frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity! :)

    The possibilities are endless, and I am SO excited to do them all one day!

    Thank you for this awesome giveaway! I'm a HUGE fan of Cinder, and have been DYING to read "Scarlet"!

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  31. I would love to go to London! It sounds beautiful there :D

    Thank you for this amazing giveaway!

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  32. Europe, all over it, I have always wanted to visit all the cities over there. =]

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  33. Europe! Particularly Ireland and the United Kingdom. Definitely on my bucket list!

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  34. Thanks so much for the guest post and giveaway! I am soooooo excited for Scarlet!!!!!

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  35. I would want to go to Japan, definitely.

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  36. I still want to go to Australia and New Zealand, as well as to Japan.

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  37. Definitely Europe! I would go to France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and the list goes on and on!

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  38. Spain

    Thanks for the chance to win!
    Froggy
    froggarita@gmail.com

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  39. I would want to go to Dubai and Japan.

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  41. After seen these pics of Opera house i would love to go to Paris again, but this time only with my loving wife. If i got some more time then i extend my tour and trying to go Switzerland or Germany,Australia also. I want to spend some romantic moments with my wife and also do some fun their.
    costa brava espagne

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