So, you’re writing a story or a novel, or maybe even a screenplay, and you need a real location.
Here’s a hint; If you’re looking for a real location….
Make it as real as possible!
You definitely would not write a story about a town on the Pacific Coastline of Idaho….WHY?? You ask?
Idaho has no coastline….duh!!!
To write a believable story with a believable place we need to do our home work.
AND…it really helps if you have actually BEEN at the location you are writing about.
But…it is not a prerequisite….
God Bless Technology!
So,here are a few tips that I learned myself while crafting the story line of Hill of Great Darkness.
The Internet can be a valuable tool. You can go to a location that you’ve never been to and start looking around. The Chamber of Commerce of any town (globally), or its equivalent, can be not only a real asset, but an incredible starting point for your research. It is here that you will find all the nightlife information that you need, all the hotels you would ever need, schools, parks…..
by now I think you’re getting the idea.
This is only the starting point! Go to the seedy hotel links or the high-brow suites…and look at the pictures, the dimensions of the rooms…etc.
Where are the fire departments located? Police? Hospitals? All these can add realistic depth to a car ride/chase…a stroll down the street…hey! where is that city park and find some pictures to help write word pictures.
What time of year…what colors/type of trees….any people around? What were they doing?
Things like this can add dimension to your locale…but be careful……it can also add too much information that will bore the stuffings out of your readers…..
What if you could look down from an airplane and see the layout of a city? That can get expensive!
How about satellite imagery? Hmmm….
Where are the lakes/rivers? How is the city/town laid out?
There are SO MANY ways to describe a place you’ve never been to without ever having to get up and go there.
There is ONE MORE extremely important source you will want to investigate as you craft your new world.
The local library.
No, not yours…..
The library in the location you are writing about.
It is there you will find a wealth of knowledge about the history of your location. And that can help you in ways you never imagined. Browse through the historical pages of newspapers and reports…you never know what you will find…here is an example; During the writing of HOGD, I was stumped when it came to finding a believable entry to get one mile beneath an ancient Indian Mound just east of St. Louis. It was in a local history book that I stumbled upon an old story of two friends who started a coal mine just east of the mine…only to close it down a couple of days later without any explanation….
WOW!!! Talk about story fodder!!!
I would have never found it without the local library.
Be creative and inquisitive when building new literary worlds…use everything you have available in your quest, and…
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