Hi, folks: I'm continuing my blog series Blooming, and I'm keeping with the list-y format. I'm offering pre-writing activities for setting this week. Authentic setting will make your stories pop! I hope that something here helps you utilize place within your stories like it is a living breathing character.
Travel -- One powerful way to create setting is to go there. Here is a link to Stephanie Meyer's trip to Forks, WA. Take a camera, a notebook, a recorder and go crazy! Don't be shy. Talk to old timers, visit old houses, tromp through historical sites, and tiptoe through graveyards!
Shop -- I have more than one friend that shops for vintage photos on eBay. I also like to rummage around in antique shops. Remember a picture is worth a thousand words.
Maps -- I love Google Earth. Man, it is addictive. At Google Maps you can get directions to drive, take transit, walk or bike there. Very handy. I also like Map Quest. Here is a link to 3-D virtual room software. I also am a pretty handy doodler and create maps for my fantasy and sci-fi worlds. If you don't doodle, try fantasy map making software like at ProFantasy Software.
Model -- Here is a link to Dollhousecity. You might want to but miniature set of furniture for a room. Here is a Wooden Dollhouse Set from Amazon. This can be handy if you have a fight scene and need to toss some furniture around. Exactly how does a chair look that is tossed out a window? I mean you could really toss a chair out the window or ....
Archives -- Did you know almost all major cities have online photo archives? Here are a couple to get you started. Here is NYC Municipal Archives. Here is a link to the City of Houston Gallery. Newspapers also have photo archives. Here is one to the Chicago Tribune. I am also a big fan of the digital collections at the Library of Congress.
If you are in doubt, Google it.
I think following up with some of these pre-writing activities are a great way to build strong story bones. I hope that you are moving forward with your project.
Here is this week's doodle: "Dandelion".
Here is a quote for your pocket.
All the ideas in the universe can be described by words. Therefore, if you simply take all the words and rearrange them randomly enough times, you’re bound to hit upon at least a few great ideas eventually. Sausage donkey swallows flying guillotine, my love assembly line.