Monday, May 11, 2009

Location, location, location...

I’ve always heard that a writer should write what they know. This seems to go for novel locations as well. I’ve noticed that many writers set their scenes in their hometowns/home states. I tend to do the same thing. It’s easier to write about something when you have firsthand knowledge of it.

But, it got me to thinking. Where would you like to write about? I’m a big fan of traveling. I love it. Not that I get to do it that often, but any chance I get, I’m there. There are so many places I want to see. I know I’ll never be able to see them all. But, I am planning to see as much as I can.

Everyone loves the beach, right? I know I do. Who wouldn’t? The sun, the sand, the palm trees. Gorgeous! I’ve been lucky enough to see the beach once. I fell in love with it. The sea has to be the most beautiful creation ever. I know there are tons of beaches yet for me to see, but I am extremely grateful to have at least had that experience so far.

Niagara Falls is another location that I would love to see in person. I look at pictures and can’t even imagine people trying to go over them in a barrel. They were either insane, or just stories made up for our entertainment. I don’t know, but just imagine the possibilities for a book setting.

Italy is one of the most beautiful countries I can imagine. I’ve been dying to go there for years. It will definitely be one of my first stops when I get the chance to go. I’ve always wanted to ride down the river/street in a gondola. It has to be one of the most romantic things to do. At least, in my opinion.

Then, there are forests, mountains, and so many more places I can’t even begin to name them all. The possibilities are endless.

For now, I will continue to set my stories in locations that I know about. But, one of these days, I’m going to branch out and explore all the other places my heart longs to see.

What are your favorite places? Where do you dream of traveling to? Have you ever set your novels in a location you’ve never been? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.


Wendy_Ely said...

Hi, Sierra!

I have my series based in a fictional small town outside of Phoenix but that's because I LOVE this area. I'm just lucky to live here! Jesse's Brother was based in Oregon which is a place I've also lived in.

I plan on going to San Diego this summer and will scouting out the place for a future novel. I've also done one in Seattle where I haven't lived but visted.

Great post today!

Anonymous said...

Writing what you know is a good rule! Although, it is very broad in some cases. Well all know what trees look like for example. So it's possible to create fantasy worlds based on known knowledge. In fact, like most things, if something is grounded in reality it makes it all that more real.

Thanks for the post, Sierra!


Mark. Who couldn't be bothered signing in *giggle*

Linda Wolf said...

I would love to base a novel in New York City. I've always been a small town gal but something about New York City has me fascinated. Maybe it's the hustle and bustle of the city. Everyone is rushing to get to the meeting, the java fix, the subway. The culture is also a factor and not to mention it's the city that never sleeps. LOL Where else can you have almost anything delivered to your door at all hours of the day and night?

Sierra Wolfe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sierra Wolfe said...

Oh, I would love to do NYC, too. I can't wait to visit there someday!

Thanks for the comments everyone!

Mima said...

well, i find writing generic cities and generic climates work fine. but for one international story, i really liked throwing in details to prove i'd been to those places.

i want to go to zanzibar. because it's such a cool word, and i think it would be awesome to say i've been there. plus it's a beautiful place, and authentically exotic.

Sierra Wolfe said...

Oooh, zanzibar does sound exotic!

Charlotte McClain said...

I don't have any locations that I dream about and haven't used in some way. One Ring To Rule was set at a comic book convention. Those who know the cons will recognize it as the Chicago Con, but it's a convention so it could be anywhere. The Arden FD books are all set in the mythical town of Arden which happens to look a lot like the city in which I reside. The estate in Master Gardener is modeled on a historic house near me. The Rock Star's Retreat is set in a campground in West Virginia similar to Black Water Falls. I have a sci fi story that takes place partly in a planet that is a mix of the Philippines and Phuket, Thailand. I also have a WIP set in Seoul. I've been to those places and will probably manage to work Chile into a story at some point.

Now as for places I'd like to go? The list is too long, but I have my passport on me at all times and I can pack a bag faster than you can say, "There's an airfare sale." And when I get home, or maybe while I'm there, I'll fit it into a story.

Carrie said...

Great Blog Sierra!

Okay, been to NYC and have a friend who lives there. Let's see - expensive to drive through and even that takes forever. Poor road markings caused us to get shuttled off to the airport and it took over 45 minutes to do one small, simple loop to get back onto the freeway and we would see larger than life advertisements about not picking up hitch hikers because they could be escapees from the area prison (no lie, and we saw one like this in Jersey too!). The friend we have in NYC says that everything costs twice as much and she can only afford a really small place that she shares with another person. Personally, I'd take Buffalo over NYC because I've been there several times and it's pretty close to the Niagra Falls area, which is decent.

We visited the falls at night (state side) and it's really pretty but my mom says the Canadian side is even better, and yes those stories were true from what I remember of the tour. I think they still have one of the barrels....

I've always thought Venice might be neat, that was until we had our own little version of Venice occur in Wisconsin. Last summer, the rains were so bad that the area got really flooded and some streets were under 2-3 feet of water or more and people were still dumb enough to try going down those streets and got stuck and had to be pushed out. To be honest, even if I was in a boat, the smell that always accompanies the water would take away any hints of romance for me. Sure, I'll agree that it would be neat to visit just once though.

Because roller coasters are my love, I really want to get to a lot of the European places and I really want to ride Steel Dragon in Japan. The drop is over 300 feet tall and it has a ton of air time hills built in.

I've been to many places in the U.S. and Canada in search of great coasters and for the elements that I love the most - air time, speed, and smoothness - you can't beat Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana. They have Indiana Beach too.

If you can't make it to Venice or Rome, take a trip to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia. The themes for this park is based on many of the European areas. I found the Roman/Italian-style decor to be somewhat awe inspiring and romantic. Of course it helped that it was a slower day and not too many people were in the park, so it was nice to have the area somewhat to ourselves. The food aromas helped out quite a bit too! There is even a theater there called the Globe and it is in the fashion of its namesake!

If I write what I know, then I must live in another universe because that's what I seem to know best! *smiles*


Sierra Wolfe said...

Thanks for the comments everyone.

Wow, Carrie. Lots of information there. I went to Holiday World last year. :D

Charlotte, a comic book convention would be a great place to locate a story. Sounds fun!

MK Mancos/Kathleen Scott/Kate Davison said...

Tuscany. Hands down.

I read a book set there once and it was so...magical...I really guess what I'm saying is that I want to go there and use it as "reserch."

I generally set most of my contemporary themed stories in either NJ or Florida and I have a series I'm developing that takes place in Texas. (Love Texas!) - My fantasy, sci-fi and futuristics..well, I've had them set just about anywhere you can and I did imagine. Hehehhee...


Anonymous said...

Mine are in San Diego. I'm a native and love the place.

Ms Menozzi said...

At the moment, I'm setting all my stories right in my own backyard (almost literally, in some cases). Of course, it doesn't hurt that I'm living in Italy.

I have to say that there are definitely *unromantic* things about this place, but as writers, I think most of us living here and describing it tend to gloss over those little displeasing details. Could you blame us? LOL!

Then again, if you read books which aren't romances (strictly speaking) there are stories set outside of Rome or Venice or Tuscany that are well worth a look. I recommend Tim Parks' fiction for a realistic, yet fantastic, view of modern Italy. His dry humor shows what it's really like, here, but still makes you want to run away to Verona at the same time. ;)

Incidentally, I don't think writing what you know is meant literally. I think it's more of a general guideline to remind the writer to do research and to write from the heart. A story can take place in a world which doesn't exist, but still move the reader, as long as the emotional heart is there. If it isn't, the story won't work, period.

And if anyone ever has questions about Italy, feel free to ask me! I'd love to be of help to anyone who needs it. :)


Sierra Wolfe said...

Thanks for the comments everyone! Great responses. I've enjoyed reading them all. Now, I'm dreaming even more of traveling the world. :)

Tierney O'Malley said...

Hey Sierra. Great topic.
I always use Seattle, Edmonds or Oregon in my books because I know the area very well. I live in Shoreline. I could walk to Edmonds from my house. And we drive to Oregon two to three times a year. sometimes more. I could describe the setting sun, sound, scent, people, tress. It's like painting a scenery.
I do have ideas written down for stories that took place in Europe. Two months of being there gave me the materials I needed (I came home with my backpack full of brochures, mags, tickets, etc), personal experience to use to go outside my normal neighborhood scenes.


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