Monday, July 25, 2011

Homework takes a Vacation

  Write what you know. It’s good advice, but sometimes the muse takes you elsewhere. We ride the journey with research replacing experience. Hopefully it’s enough.
  I completed a historical novel set in ancient Mesoamerica. There was no way for me to literally go back in time to grab the details. Research was imperative, but I could also get creative. For example, I invented a fruit that was eaten.
  Directly contrasting this is my current work in progress, set in modern San Diego County. Again, research is imperative. If I don’t get a localism right, someone will call me on it. That’s partly why I picked this setting. I get to visit there this very week! I’m off to sunny California and excited to absorb the sites and sounds, culture and language. A camera and notebook are must haves. Plus, when I’m through writing, I have YA nieces and nephews who can comb through those details. Tip: Have you checked out Google Earth in the street view? Awesomesauce.
  Sometimes we pick a setting for the exotic/rugged/secluded/whatever qualities it has. I picked this area for familiarity. When it doesn’t really matter which city you pick, make life easier. Write what you know.
  Settings let you visualize and get the flavor of an area but they also need to fit your story. Both of these photos were taken in San Diego County. The setting you pick makes a big difference. Where is your story set?

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