Short story writing – don’t try this at home! – Part 3

Where is this story going to start?

Let’s forget about the what and the who and the when for the moment, and figure out the location.

After all, we couldn’t make a movie unless we have somewhere to shoot it.  Those places are called locations, and before a film begins someone has to go out and find locations.

Sometimes it’s easy, because you know where the story is based.

New York, London, Singapore, Moscow.

It’s more likely it will be somewhere you’ve been, or where you live.

I live in Brisbane, in Australia.  Not a lot of people overseas know of it.  Oddly enough before I moved here over 30 years ago, it was just a name on a map.

But the point is, now that I’m here I could write a story based in Brisbane.  Or as easily, in Melbourne, where I also used to live.

Or I could select a place I’ve travelled to, perhaps not once, but a few times, and each time taking photographs and notes about that place, thinking one day I could used it as a location.

I have, and I do.  It’s one of the reasons why I like to travel.  I’m always on the lookout for someplace new.

Several of my books are based in New York, several in London, and various parts of the story find the characters in places like Paris, Rome, Florence, Tuscany, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Moscow.

Then, sometimes when my knowledge is lacking in some of the finer points of the city, Google maps, and Google itself are there to fill in the gaps.  I have virtually driven down streets in London, especially near Kew Gardens and in Knightsbridge, checking locations.

Suffice to say, I know some parts of London like the back of my hand, and recently, before COVID, visited and did a spot check just to be sure.

With COVID 19 causing havoc with travel plans, virtual travel is all I can do at present.

Then there’s building, like houses, apartments, any sort of building which may require some knowledge.

I guess what I’m saying is that there’s more to locations than just saying something is there, it had to fit the area.  Yes, the story is a work of fiction, but sometimes it’s better to have an idea of what’s there, or readers will be disappointed.

Especially if they live in that city, town, village, house or tent.

I actually use the real estate advertisements in a city of town where I want to have a house, because it gives you a map, exterior views, how to get there, and best of all what it looks like inside.

Still can’t afford that $12,000,000 apartment in New York, but the views, there were to die for.

But I, as always, digress…

Now it’s starting to sound like a lot of hard work.

It is.

Even if you go down the ‘pantser’ road, there’s still lot of research to be done.

More confusion tomorrow.

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