Setting a Location

One of the most important things we can do as writers is set our location. That must be evident from the very first page. People want to know where the story is happening. The question becomes exactly where should our stories be—an exotic locale, a small town, rural community, or major city. Perhaps it can even be in different countries.

We have all heard the adage “write what you know.” That includes location. In many genres, the location might be a fictional town, universe, or world. Even though it doesn’t exist on any known plane, setting up a location can be as simple as a bit of research or garnered through first hand experience.

I recently published a novella that has two very diverse locations and happens during the end of year holiday season. Both are areas I know well, but haven’t visited in many years and therefore, required some research before I could actually start writing. It was necessary because most of the information I sought was in the past, about twenty years ago. Once I had everything necessary, and the memories were flowing from things I remembered, I sat down to write the story.

How can you, as both writer and reader, discover the richness of the past making a story come alive? What devices are needed to blend two cultures into a tale while also sticking to plot and characters? It’s all actually very simple.

You take the same crafting tools you’ve used to create all your other stories and apply them to the one you’re working on. Yes, you might work a bit slower. You certainly will be hitting up people you knew at that time for information you might have missed. Your research might even require a field trip to the locations you’re using, if that’s possible.

One thing to remember while you’re using an area you haven’t visited in a while for your story’s location. Make sure the details are right. Even if that means taking a break for a few days and contacting individuals in the area you’re writing about or the government’s tourism office. You certainly don’t want to have someone reviewing your book and mentioning that you have something incredibly wrong.

Fröhliche Weihnachten Merry Christmas

Riona’s life of self-doubt stranded her in an abusive marriage with four small children to raise. Her children and a successful career in the Air Force made her life bearable. She needed out—and Fate handed her a way.

Once, when she was younger, there was a man she thought good until he stood her up. She had no way of knowing that he had endured a bad marriage and a bitter divorce, leaving a teenaged daughter in the middle. He had never forgotten Riona.

Both their hearts were hurting. Fate would help them heal.