Fly me to the moon or Mordor.

Not Mordor, St Michael’s Mount Marazion. Cornwall.

Location. It’s not just a place, it’s a character.

As a child did you have that special place where you hid out in a thunder storm? Or a place you returned to at every opportunity for adventure?

I did. Back in my hometown there is a man-made lake, with a wooden bridge that takes you over from one to the other.

Southport Marine Lake and the Victorian Venetian bridge.

It wasn’t the bridge but what I called the islands. Back in the late 70’s/ early 80’s these where overgrown with bushes and shrubs, that had natural hollow dens inside them. Perfect for the young girl seeking an adventure with her trusty bearded collie.

I convinced myself there were mine, collecting the rare piece of litter that had the audacity to spoil the landscape, hiding from adults and families in the summer, like some lost runaway, with a book under my arm.

I don’t have my own private island (maybe one day!) but the importance of that location is till with me.

We were partners in crime. It held my secrets. It was a huge part of my life every opportunity I had.

When writing location in your stories you need to add the relevance to the main characters., what is it and why are we here.

Make your place feel real, dynamic thinks of the great fiction canon’s, from Wuthering Heights and the moody moors reflecting that of Heathcliffe. The moors set the tone throughout.

The landscape of Modor and the Shire are at odds with each other as they should be because each one involves a different part of the hero’s journey.

Your characters need to react to their location, inhale their surroundings, watch how it challenges them and sense when it’s safe and able to protect them. Location is personal.

Like with every part of your story, flip it! Make it unique!

Not only will your setting change over distance but the same one will change over time.

Has the place you grew up in remained the same? I know mine hasn’t, parts that were important to me have disappeared become shops and fast-food restaurants.

Southport sea bathing lake then.
Southport now.

Research an area, notice the changes and think how has this affected your character? What stories do they have to tell. Has it changed their opinions, their outlook?

Most importantly see the landscape through their eyes.

It doesn’t matter if your place is real or totally made-up. The attention to detail needs to be there. Take a page from Tolkien, and draw out a map for your setting. Add important features or prominent places.

For the August challenge Day Two, think of a place that holds a special meaning to you. Write it down in great detail. Now do the same with your story location, through the eyes of your character.

Whether it’s the moon or Mordor make it memorable.

For more tips on writing go to The Coffeehouse Writer.

Brainstorming!

I had to include this video from the Imagination Movers, as well it fits, it used to be a favourite in our home when my kids were smaller.

As a woman of a certain age, who has spent a fair bit being a single parent and working jobs that fit around school, I have an eclectic CV, that includes geriatric care, nursery teacher (both very similar), publican, business consultant, archaeologist and retail assistant and bouncer plus so many more.

I have studied tourism, history, International peace-keeping,  science, literature  archaeology, forensics and writing all at higher levels. My interests are as vast and varied as the British Library index list.

I have traveled and moved throughout the UK, lived and shared my life with so many different people that I have notebooks full of tit-bits of character traits, dialogue, location descriptions, and general ideas.

For me, ideas come from being a participant in life, not just an observer, of which I also do, but also from joining in, taking part. Method-writing if you like. While to start with these experiences were not all intentional writing fodder, that is indeed what they have become. My diaries, news cuttings and memories, to Facebook and other social media accounts, from riding an early morning bus filled with a mix of school kids, commuters and oaps getting to the shops early. As I embrace writing, I always have at least my phone with me to record observations and overhearing, if not a notepad and pen.

This illustrious scribbling may not always makes sense but that’s the point. These are ideas, the first step in a chain reaction. Who cares if they are used or not, but at least they are being generated and kept for that possible future time when they shout loud enough for attention.

On a side note, I have found ideas also come from copious amount of coffee and red  wine, the latter sometimes incomprehensible but all the same still worth jotting down.

In the words of Shelly…

Adieu! take care of yourself; and, I entreat you, write!