When you dream about a house, it symbolizes the Mansion of your Soul. According to “The Dreamer’s Workbook” by Nerys Dee, each part of that house – even the hallways – represent parts of your psyche and different approaches to life. In literature, houses are more than a setting. They represent the people who live in them. I just finished “The Penderwicks on Gardam Street” by Jeanne Birdsall. I preferred the original “Penderwicks” novel, probably because the story is wrapped up in the four Penderwick sisters discovering beautiful Arundel Hall: its grounds and gardens, the contrasts between its comfortable cottages and intimidating grand house. We do become captured and captivated by houses. Last weekend, I was in the Catskill Mountains with my brother, Jason. We’ve had a family getaway there since I was in middle school and he was six. It’s a magical place for Jay. Our log cabin overlooking a small lake is the setting of his childhood adventures, pranks, parties…even his wedding. My mansion is the house my English grandparents owned. The Old Rectory sat between a working quarry and the edge of Sherwood Forest. My grandmother kept doves and chickens. I once helped build a fishpond in the yard. That’s the house I dream about. In children’s fiction, characters are often discovering their soul’s mansion for the first time (Harry Potter’s Hogwarts School, Culver School in “Looking for Alaska,” the Penderwick sisters’ Arundel Hall). In adult fiction, characters have a complicated relationship with these places. In Alice Hoffman’s “Here on Earth,” a woman returns to her childhood home and habits with disastrous results. Writers, let’s bump up those settings. Think about your protagonist’s Mansion of the Soul. What or where is it? What does the place reveal about your character? Recommended Reading: Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, “The Fall of the House of Usher;” Agatha Christie’s novel “Sleeping Murder;” Natalie Babbitt’s “Tuck Everlasting.” If you are a LOTR fan, notice how each setting symbolizes the people who live there (the Hobbits’ Shire, the Elves’ Rivendell, Sauron’s Mordor).