How hard it is to escape from places. However carefully one goes they hold you – you leave little bits of yourself fluttering on the fences – like rags and shreds of your very life.
Choosing a place to write about can be a difficult decision. Whether you set your story in Waterbury, Connecticut or Denver, Colorado you need to know enough about the place so that people who live there or are familiar with the city, town or country don’t spend too much time analyzing all of your “mistakes.” Adding just enough detail to give your readers a sense and feel of the area is important even if they have never been there. If you want to set your story in Portland, Oregon because you think your character would fit in there but you have never visited Oregon you need to do your research. Some writers use real streets, landmarks and shops but this can also be a way to show your creative side by mixing reality with your imagination.
Today, think about your favorite places…what details could add a layer to the story. Is it a city or a small town, a tourist destination or off the beaten path? How would your character act differently if they lived in Austin, Texas versus Ionia, Iowa? How could you use local language to add authenticity to your writing? Write a paragraph or a page on the place you grew up in, then write a paragraph or a page on a place you’ve never been researching before you write.Take along a digital camera on your walks and your travels, taking pictures of houses, streets, areas, people, store fronts these can help spark memories when writing about place. Now get back to work!
The Writing Nag