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?