Location, Location, Location
I’m Jillian Chantal and I want to thank Christina and the Time for Love blog for allowing me to pop in today to talk a little about something near to my heart in my own writing. Location.
Realtors use this phrase all the time, and I like to think of it as I start a new novel as well. To me, location can be used almost like an additional character. Stories are fun to plan, and one of the most interesting things to me is selecting where the action will take place. I, for one, like foreign or exotic places. The tag line for my website is Romantic Adventures with an International Flair and those are my favorite tales to tell.
Traveling can assist a writer in making his or her stories more authentic. We’ve all gone on trips, be they short or long, to the next town or across the ocean. I recommend that those ventures to other areas be mined for material. Using a small notebook, I jot things as I move about-- such as what neighborhoods abut each other; where the nicest homes are; where the dodgy areas are; and other little details that will add to setting the scene.
I always grab a map or two of the places I visit in case I later decide to set a story there so I’ll have them to compare to areas that my character goes to. I’ve seen several movies set in places I’ve been and it always bugs me when I can tell they’ve moved around in the shooting and that the place where the character is at one point is nowhere near where they are in the next moment. I know that makes me sound anal and maybe I am, but I sure do like to try to be authentic.
I recently received a review from a reader who lives in London and she praised the fact that “the writer nailed the area of London where the story was set” (Greenwich). I recently spent time over there when my son was living in the area. I made notes of streets, pubs, food, types of drinks, the railway stops and also picked up those maps that I love. I really think that made a difference for that reader to feel as if she were really in that area with the characters.
I’ve mined my real life visits for scenery descriptions as well as tourist spots that characters may visit. I have also set a few stories in places I haven’t been physically but I’ve researched by ordering maps and tourist books as well as talking to friends who have been there. I mine that information to use sporadically in the story to make the readers feel they are there. It seems to work as readers have contacted me to say they feel like they are in the places I describe.
I recommend the above for adding authenticity to your stories and to make them come alive for the reader. Making your story’s location an integral part of the action will add flair to your tale that readers will love. Try adding the little touches that can make a difference, like personal notes or information that a map or tourist guide can provide. It’ll make your stories shine. If you’re a reader, please leave a comment letting me know your thoughts about scenery and location. I’m curious if it makes a difference if you’re reading about an area you know well if you can tell if the writer has been there or not.
I appreciate the opportunity to visit and hope that some of the ideas I shared will be helpful.
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From Christina: I want to thank Jillian again for visiting today and sharing her thoughts. Her latest romantic adventure -- with an international flair -- is Moon Dance, from Desert Breeze Publishing. Jillian loves to hear from her readers. You can find her on the web, on Facebook, and through Twitter.
Jillian Chantal is a writer who lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida. She lives there with her spouse, her last remaining dependent child and a tuxedo cat that keeps them all amused with his antics and desire to be walked down the street on a leash. She writes what she likes to call romantic adventures and is published with Desert Breeze Publishing; BookStrand Publishing; Secret/Sweet Cravings Publishing; and the non-erotic side of Ellora’s Cave.