Location, location, location!!

22 Aug

Where do your stories take place? A city, a town, a bar? Is it based on a real place? Or is it a place that you have created in your imagination? Or maybe it is a combination of the two?

I have to have a base for my story. A place that I am familiar with. Whether it is a town or a restaurant or an island. I have to start my story somewhere/some place that I know intimately. It is sort of like building a house. Once I have the foundation set in concrete, I can begin to build my dream.

I don’t have to worry about what color the concrete is or how it feels or what it smells like. I already know. I can put these things down on paper without a struggle. Then, once I begin to frame my house, I might decide to change a room or a layout or even add in a few more rooms. This is my story after all and it is fiction. That’s always the fun part.

But, if I am going to use a business or a location that I have created more than once, I will sketch it out for reference. I don’t want to have my characters walk in a door on the North end of the building when I’ve mentioned the window in that exact same spot eight chapters ago. I don’t get fancy with my drawings. I am more of a stick figure gal. But I can sketch out the basics.

I visualize the story that I am reading. A good author can transport a reader into the story. Into the place where the action is happening. There is nothing worse for me than to be ripped from that story by a misplaced exit or a bar that was next to the grocery then across from it. Yes, a good editor should catch these things, but these are our stories and we should know them inside and out.

How do you keep your stories straight?




Posted by on August 22, 2012 in writing craft


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7 responses to “Location, location, location!!

  1. Janis McCurry

    August 22, 2012 at 7:00 AM

    It’s always an issue for me, which I suspect is why I tend to be light on description during the first draft. I haven’t made up my “other” mind. I have drawn my indoor locations just to fix in my mind where the bedroom is or where the door goes out to the patio. The visual “stick” drawing helps me.

  2. Liz Fredericks

    August 22, 2012 at 7:19 AM

    This is a tough one. I suspect the more a person writes, the more likely they’ll start to blur characters (or maybe it’s just me). I really like the writeway software. It’s been a huge help.

  3. Peggy Staggs

    August 22, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    With a horrendous memory I need everything nailed down. I have a notebook with all the information in it. I have a map of the town, pictures of buildings, floor plans of buildings and houses, and pictures of yards and parks. I’ll even put in pictures of clothing my characters will wear. It’s much easier for me to turn the page and have everything right there than rely on a nonexistent memory.

  4. Lynn Mapp

    August 22, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    I would do research on cities (if I hadn’t been there). In my current WIP the story takes place in Boise. That makes is easier for me.

  5. maryvine

    August 22, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    I love NE Oregon and write about the area in all three of my published books. The last one is a historical, so I dug even deeper for that. I did change the name of the city from Baker City to Salisbury Junction-which was actually a town once. I do stick to what I know and areas that I enjoy.

  6. Clarissa Southwick

    August 25, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    Great advice on sketching the house. Thanks, Meredith!


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