Monday, January 10, 2011

Places I Know

I was watching a movie partially set in Edinburgh (no, it wasn’t Trainspotting) and I realized I could name all the streets the actors were walking on and had been in a fair amount of the buildings. I know that city so well, not only because I lived there, but because I loved living there. It got me thinking about place when writing.

My YA novel, In the After, takes place in an unnamed city that greatly resembles Chicago. Some of the street names are the same, as well as a park near my house. Although it is meant to be an “every city,” I think basing it on the city in which I lived helped me visualize the action a bit better.

What are some of the places you know? Places that are a part of you. Here are mine; they’re all cities, but yours don’t have to be.

Miami (where I grew up)
Edinburgh (where I love to be)
Chicago (where I’ve made my home)

What about you? How do you all utilize place in your writing?


  1. I used a piece of Chicago in my current WIP. I had attended a wedding there in May and used places we went to then, so I at least felt familiar. It's odd trying to write about a place you have never been, although not impossible.

    I'm reading this book called ONE DAY and a big chunk of it takes place in London, where I studied a abroad. I can picture all of it so clearly even though that was years ago. A sense of place is so important in a book!

  2. I wrote a passage for a book to come down the line, featuring a man getting murdered by two people late at night on an estate that features ruins.

    That estate is a real place, the Mackenzie King estate in the Gatineau Hills, a half hour drive away, and home to one of our greatest prime ministers.

  3. I ususally don't describe the places I know but it might be a good idea...Edinburgh is a great place (and Trainspotting was a great but weird movie)! Thanks for your post!

  4. I think Chicago is a great "every city" - especially since they filmed the last two Batman movies here (I'm a Chicagoan, too, tho I'm originally a farm girl).

    I've never described a place I've actually been in my writing, but if I did, I'd use Chicago or London (I also did a study abroad). Or maybe New Orleans. Each city has its own special brand of magic, I think.

  5. How funny! My book takes place in Chicago, too! It must be a popular city setting for 2011. :P