Good morning writers and a happy Sunday to you. I am a bit behind with this weeks post and have usually written and posted it a few hours earlier. However, I am sleepy and a little poorly, so I am only just getting around to it.
Today, I’d like to focus on reasons you should visit the location in which your novel is set. Yesterday, I went to London with the sole purpose of researching the areas my character’s live, work and meet their fate…I visited two years ago, when I was in the early stages of planning my novel. I had decided little more than it was to begin with a murder set in Battersea Park. Since that first visit I have finished my first draft and am set to begin editing. I decided not only to revisit Battersea Park, but also some new areas that had cropped up during my writing.
It was amazing! Almost surreal to see all the locations that had been in my mind over the past two years.
Before I go into it, I’d like to state that I understand this isn’t always possible. In fact, I’d like to make the following list:
Reasons you May Not Be Able to visit your Novel’s Setting
1. It’s Not A Real Place
Many of you will have created a world for your story and therefore you can’t just hop on over to see what it’s like. If possible though, visit a location similar. If you’re world is set amongst forests, go to a forest. Amongst mountains? Get on your hiking boots!
2. It’s Too Far Away
I don’t expect everyone to be able to cross their country, or even go to a different country all together, if that’s the case. I am lucky to live a couple of hours away from London, you may not have the luxury of being so close to your setting. Try watching films or TV shows set in these areas instead.
3. It’s Set in the Past/Future
Perhaps you are within easy reach of your location, but your particular story is set in the distant past…or the distant future, and therefore doesn’t look how it does in your novel. You may find museums can help with this, or again, watching TV and film.
So, moving on to the reasons why, if you can visit your novel’s location, you should.
1. The Senses
We all know the importance of using the five senses when writing a novel. What better way to take note of what you can see, hear, smell, taste and touch in a place than by actually being there? For example, I knew that in Battersea Park you’d here people talking, dogs barking, children playing and the distant rumble of the cars. I didn’t realise, until yesterday, that you can ALWAYS here an aeroplane, always smell the dirt…
2. Putting Yourself into Your Character’s Shoes
Taking yourself to the place in which your characters’ stories have developed is an amazing feeling and truly makes you feel close to them. Walk around and observe things with their mindset. You’re essentially almost pretending to be them, to get a feel of their surroundings and how they react to them.
3. Inspiration Strikes
It’s amazing how much I managed to write just from being in these locations. I had so much inspiration for beautiful descriptions, interesting conversations…lines I would never have come up with sat in my living room at home. I can’t wait to get editing and use my new inspiration to add real feeling and authenticity to my story.
4. Writing Away from Home
I wrote a post before about places to write that aren’t home, and for me, writing out and about leaves me free from the distractions of being surrounded by the mess I need to tidy, the studying I need to do, the TV I want to watch. After many hours of walking around, making notes, I grabbed a cup of tea, sat by a window and wrote for hours.
Whether you’ve visited your location, are planning to, or simply can’t I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Please comment below with your suggestions, questions or advice!