Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Location, Location, Location ~ Not Just a Business Decision

Happy Wednesday!!

Picture this - you've mapped out the main ideas of your story line, you have work diligently to develop believable characters, you know the type of venues (office setting, park, restaurant, etc.) that need to be included in your story - all that is left is to decide where this story will take place and the location you decide upon will either add to your story or detract from it depending on how accurately you can portray the location. This can be a difficult decision to make and for some reason the real life importance of "location, location, location" often described to face challenges in the business world comes to mind for me. I don't want to ruin the impact / effect of my story by placing it in the entirely wrong place.

There are so many things to consider, such as:
  1. Should you choose a place that you are very familiar with (where you grew up or have visited frequently) or a place you've never been or experienced?
  2. New York
  3. If you choose a place you've never visited how will you be able to make it seem as if you have?
  4. What can you do to become more familiar with the details of landmarks?
  5. Does your story line demand a specific climate (e.g. if you have an Olympic skier in your story they wouldn't likely live in Florida)?
  6. Can you utilize the location to add to your story line or is this place just going to serve as a backdrop?
  7. Will readers be able to relate to this location? 
  8. Does your story require that your main character travel to many different places?

This list is by no means exhaustive and the good news for all writers is that the decision is completely up to you! In the book that I'm working on, my character travels from one location in Canada to another location and has to be constantly "on the move" for various reasons and, luckily, I have visited these places and can describe landmarks in detail and name streets; making the scene believable. So, for this novel I'm set. However, if this wasn't the case, and there have been times I've considered changing the location to more familiar places located in the United States, how would I prepare myself to be able to "sell" the location to readers? Some tools I could use are:

  • Google Maps
  • Vegas
  • Geographical Maps
  • Wikipedia
  • Internet Searches
  • Family / Friends (if they have traveled to the destination)
  • Other Authors
  • Other Blog Authors
Again, not an exhaustive list but a start.

What tools would you utilize to explore a place you've never been?

Happy writing everyone :-)


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