Writers, Do You Need to Visit?
- August 24, 2020
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Dorothy Gilman, author of the Mrs. Pollifax spy series, was agoraphobic at one point. When I read that, I was shocked. Her Mrs. Pollifax has traveled everywhere, from Turkey to China to Albania.
It’s amazing to me because I need to have been somewhere before I can write about it. One writer I know fictionalizes stories based on her own life. She’s had (and has) a damned interesting life spanning the globe and back again. But she’s been there.
Do you need to be in a place before you can write about it? Or does meticulous research work?
Obviously, when writing stories set in the past, research is pretty much the only way to go. And writing high fantasy means you can create whatever rules suit your world best.
How much liberty do you take with your geography? Both Jim Butcher and Dorothy L. Sayers rearranged the lay of the land in their stories. I’ve created streets that don’t exist, solely for the purpose of protecting hapless home owners from possibly getting readers tracking the locations “since they’re in the area anyway.” (I feel a need to protect nonreaders, whether or not it’s necessary.)
What do you like to do?
(I realize that travel is not exactly feasible in the current climate but eventually it will be again.)