Location, location, location – we hear it all the time, especially for real estate. But location can play a huge role in your book too! So, today, I’m going to talk about why it’s important to really know your location for your story.
If you do it right, location can become a separate character in your story. I don’t know a lot about fantasy books, but think about all the world building involved with these books. These stories involve so much location, so you need to know your location.
Here’s three tips to figuring out your book’s location and getting a better understanding of it:
1. What Needs to Happen?
In my book, The Assassin, there’s a famous serial killer who kills lots of people. I’ve moved the book three times (New York to Washington DC, and now to Dallas), but the story always takes place in an urban area because there’s a lot more people there. It’s easier for a serial killer to hide in the masses than not.
Does your story feature some gossipy scandal? Maybe a small town works because things never stay as a secret there. You need to know what the location is going to do to help
2. Take a Visit – And Lots of Photos
If you can, take a visit to this place. When I went to DC during high school, I took lots of photos, and when The Assassin took place there, it became ridiculously helpful in looking at the pictures to get a sense of the town. Even if you can’t visit, you need to understand the people of the town too. Washington DC has lots of politicians, but when I was there, I met lots of people like myself, passionate about the history of our great country.
3. If You Can’t Go, Google It. Or Pin It.
Have you seen the map feature on pinterest? It’s pretty awesome, I use it on my book board. IF you can’t visit your book’s location, or it’s been a long time, use google maps to keep up with what the layout of the town looks like.
I also had a huge wall map that I placed little sticky flags on so I knew where things took place. My favorite one though, is pinterest. I have a fun time looking at apartment complexes and deciding where my characters will live. This is the great feature of Pinterest, I can pin a picture from a separate website and add the address and it’ll show up on my pinterest board.
No matter where your book takes place (a real place or a place you build), you need to have a good understanding of the town you pick.
Where does your book take place?