Excellent ways to write about settings or places you have never been to.


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Thread: Excellent ways to write about settings or places you have never been to.

  1. #1

    Excellent ways to write about settings or places you have never been to.

    https://writeitsideways.com/7-tips-f...ve-never-been/

    I decided to share since I struggle with this a lot and I think I finally found an answer. I write about places I have not been to. I suppose I am sharing my findings after searching for some days for an answer. I think this will make my writing clearer. I dont have to imagine being in a place I have never been or that my memory has forgotten.

    I especially like the tip that says to watch movies of places you have never been to. Now that we have netflix this is now possible and can be done without spending a lot of money. So this thread is just me sharing the article but any replies are welcome. Being locked up all day in a house is not ideal. This should help writers who have the same problem. I don't travel far from my house. It is about how to do research on a place.

    As a random comment I do plan to purchase some books for reading and inspiration. But this is for research purposes. I want to read some books considered brilliant without having to spend a lot of money. That's why I will begin to read the princess of mars (which would be a fun read). I have a lot of time and will research books that are considered good works of fiction.
    I would follow as in believe in the words of good moral leaders. Rather than the beliefs of oneself.
    The most difficult thing for a writer to comprehend is to experience silence, so speak up. (quoted from a member)

  2. #2
    Member Twisted Head's Avatar
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    Great tips. I heard about using Google street views (as mentioned in the article), but have never had the need to do it since all of my places are made up.
    But, I do see that it can be a very useful tool when needed.

    ~TH

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Theglasshouse View Post
    I especially like the tip that says to watch movies of places you have never been to. Now that we have netflix this is now possible and can be done without spending a lot of money. So this thread is just me sharing the article but any replies are welcome.
    When I have a story that deals with a place that I've never been to, I turn to photography on Google Images for information and inspiration. Not just landmarks and famous places, but overall shots of the area, even some of the more undesirable areas that have images available, so as to capture as much of the location as possible in all it's glory as well as the flaws it may have.

    A picture is worth a thousand words, you know.

    -JJB
    ​"Strong convictions precede great actions....."

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  4. #4
    What a great article! Thanks for sharing.

    I have been fortunate in my life to have worked in many major centres, but still you forget a lot. I use google street view, just to get my head back into the setting and to remember the culture.

    I chuckled at the part about the guy running around New York, but hanging around the tourist traps. Although, I try to create a realistic world for my characters, I do bring in some of the landmarks. I do it on purpose, because I think most people reading may not know the city that well and things that they can relate to or have seen will help them get into the setting. Like writing about being in Paris and including the Tower or having a coffee on the
    Champs-Élysées might be useful, even if it is just to entertain a foreign visitor.

    But I also spend a lot of time on goole maps birdseye view. I do searches for directions and distances from one place to another. For example, if my character lives in Brooklyn, what route would she take to get to work if her office is on Wall Street? Would she drive or take the subway? If she has to be at the Met in the evening, does she have time to get home before heading out for the evening? It really helps with the logical places to put scenes and how to time these scenes between chapters.


    Sometimes in the waves of change we find our new direction...
    - unknown

  5. #5
    Member Sir-KP's Avatar
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    I definitely can vouch for the writer when she said specifically about 'weekend trip'.

    I've lived in a neighboring first-world country that people always deem as god-like country with intellectual citizen... lol. That's not entirely wrong, but not correct either. But being 3-days/1-week tourist would only get you to the outer-layer view. When you live there blending in like a local, you live and learn everything from the streets, landscape, language, culture, politics, and general behavior.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by JJBuchholz View Post
    When I have a story that deals with a place that I've never been to, I turn to photography on Google Images for information and inspiration. Not just landmarks and famous places, but overall shots of the area, even some of the more undesirable areas that have images available, so as to capture as much of the location as possible in all it's glory as well as the flaws it may have.

    A picture is worth a thousand words, you know.

    -JJB
    I am trying hard but it's difficult for me to visualize a place I have never been to. So I will use instead eyewitness testimony in journals, dairies, and letters. This will help me get the details and to research the places people have been to with the google map street view.

    I read this in a creative wriitng guide. Also, I still like the advice. But I never leave the house, so this advice might be more applicable to me.

    Not to mention many diaries and letters and journals can be found online.
    I would follow as in believe in the words of good moral leaders. Rather than the beliefs of oneself.
    The most difficult thing for a writer to comprehend is to experience silence, so speak up. (quoted from a member)

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Sir-KP View Post
    I definitely can vouch for the writer when she said specifically about 'weekend trip'.

    I've lived in a neighboring first-world country that people always deem as god-like country with intellectual citizen... lol. That's not entirely wrong, but not correct either. But being 3-days/1-week tourist would only get you to the outer-layer view. When you live there blending in like a local, you live and learn everything from the streets, landscape, language, culture, politics, and general behavior.
    So true. I lived and worked in 'spiritual' third-world country for a period. Was astounded at how the spirit of humanity and dignity impermiated every walk of life. Right down to those sitting on the dirt floor doing manual labour. I never would have imagined it as a tourist. I'm not sure you could write about it without experiencing it as a resident.
    Sometimes in the waves of change we find our new direction...
    - unknown

  8. #8
    This might not be possible for your book but I find the books that are based in the writer's actual home city to be the best. They can touch on locations because they have lived with them for real. If you are writing fiction and you want the character to be some globe trotting person then this is not possible but you really can't know a place unless you've been there. I'm working on something now in which the place is never named but it is based on my home city.

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