Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Travel to Write? Or Write to Travel?


Have you ever been somewhere where you knew you had to write a story surrounding that location?

I’ve traveled A TON. But only certain places have really caught me, and left an emotional imprint forever in my memory… where if I wanted, I could go right back to that moment and draw from the emotion and rewrite it.

Some of those places include: Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia, The Cobblestone streets of Latvia, seeing the Bolshoi ballerinas in Russia, and Stonehenge, England. 

Hubby and Me in Stonehenge------------------->

Location matters. It can affect the mood of a story, a character’s personality traits, the basis for a plot, and the whole vibe of your book. (To name a few)

So what I’m curious to know is: Has a certain place inspired a book you’ve written? Is there a certain place you’ve written or read about that you’re dying to visit? And what is it about different locations that affect us so? Where there seems to be a bit of extra magic in the air that speak to our inner writer?
                                                                                         
I’d love to know your thoughts.

Red. Head. Out. :D

40 comments:

  1. I'm a military brat, so I suspect that influenced and inspired what I write. I've also been to England (lived there for a while) and that country simply overflows with history and ideas.
    So are you writing a story that involves Stonehenge?

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    1. Ohhhh... Very cool about the military history, Alex. And I want to hear about your England/other adventures! My WIP isn't Stonehenge based, but I *know* I've got a story there ;)

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  2. Huh. I may be alone here, but location doesn't really drive me at all. Most of my stories I could "pick up" from one setting and "place down" in another without there being too many hiccups. I'm very plot and character driven, so this might be why, but I do think my settings sometimes suffer as a result. I guess it's just another thing we need to juggle (plot, characters, writing style, setting, etc. etc.)

    Man, sometimes being a writer is hard work ;)

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  3. After spending some time in the Highlands this month, I was inspired to start planning a YA historical fiction novel set there. I know that's probably been done a million times (?), but I still feel compelled to write it. Such an amazing place! :)

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  4. I'm like Tiana. I feel like I could probably put most of my stories almost anywhere and they'd work just fine. My inspiration comes from people. When I see or hear a person do or say something, it triggers a whole domino effect of plot and storyline that I really can't control. I love it :-)

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  5. Last summer I went to Ireland and pulled a number of scenes from there into my YA Fantasy piece. I'm heading to the Mediterranean this summer and know I'll get a lot of inspiration from there.

    It's neat to write about common places. To try and find a way to make the ordinary just that much more appealing.

    But you're right, there's just something so cool about taking the reader somewhere different. Somewhere special.

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  6. Oh, for sure! When I visited Kaua'i two years ago I knew I needed to locate part of my YA fantasy there. Then when I went to Ireland last year, I already knew I was using it. Loved visiting places and imaging scenes from my book there.

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  7. You two are so stinkin' cute together! :)

    Hmm, I've drawn inspiration from my old college campuses. Does that count?

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  8. My paranormal, Insight, HAD to be set in the Pacific Northwest.
    There are shadows in the trees, and the woods there are PERFECT for it. Setting absolutely came first in that book.

    Normally I just play with it. I wanted a fun location for Jameson, and I thought VEgas would be cool. Mike and I lived there for a while, so there was no real research to be done.

    I set a murder mystery in Alaska, and that was great, too. So, yeah. Sometimes it's a big deal, other times not at all.

    Guess it's project dependent.

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  9. Just dropping in to let you know that I selected you for a Versatile Blogger Award! Stop by lgkeltner.blogspot.com to claim!

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  10. I haven't been to many places so I've never been particularly inspired by travelling. But I hope it happens one day!

    P.S If you come back to England, we HAVE to meet up! :D

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  11. Cute picture! (:

    I think setting is important but I feel more comfortable writing about places I've traveled to. I lived in Paris for a few years so naturally I've got it in my current wip. But, there is a place that has left an "emotional imprint" on me and that would be without a doubt, South Africa. I spent a few weeks traveling along the garden route and it was amazing. And yet, I don't know if I could write about it... strange.

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  12. Hmmm, Well, my current work HAS to take place near the ocean, and the ocean plays a big role, but it wasn't inspired by a specific place. I'd like to travel more though and find out if there are places that inspire me.

    I'm jealous of all your travels. I really want to go to Russia.

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  13. my ms pops the characters from atlanta, to a plantation and over to india, would love to travel all over and get inspired! wish i had castles and stonehenge in driving disance! but i have been around...i may take my characters to greece next, hmm!
    you inspired a new location!

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  14. I have to give a lame answer here and say that I don't use real locations... just towns that have a certain resemblance to ones I know. I always focus on character first, though I do agree that where a character grew up can have an effect on their nature. It's something I need to think about. I'd love to read a story set around Stonehenge, though. Could be pretty magical!

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  15. I've never had any exotic location for my settings, but maybe if I could take more trips to places like that, I would want to write about them.

    I have a few stories that take place at the lake, which was something I grew up doing.

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  16. The basis for what I write is all about location, but I haven't traveled as much as I would like to. With children it's been more local because of the money and schedules.
    The more you reveal about your life, the more I think you have got to write a memoir. Seriously. Between you and your husband, you two seem to be very interesting! :)

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  17. Chicago is about the only truly specific place I've set a story. Visiting was key to being able to articulate it correctly. I really think if you're going to write about a place in detail, you need to see it. Feel it. Smell it. That kind of thing.

    I recommend setting your stories in places with amazing food. Makes the 'work-related' travel a little more pleasurable. ;)

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  18. I don't travel much, but my husband is from England so I set some of my book in an alternate version of London. I even made him take me to the Tower of London on one of our visits, so I could use it in the book!

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  19. I grew up in Hawaii, so most of my books have an island flair, since that's what I know. Venice and Neuschwanstein Castle are my two favorite places I've been. Writing a story taking place at either would be a dream. I'd have to visit again, though, for research purposes of course...

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  20. My first book spent a lot of time in Panama City Florida, during the height of the summertime college invasion. Yes, it was inspired by memories from my youth and the whole period and location deserved a story! :)

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  21. I live in the south so I constantly see these beautiful historic homes that are really inspiring to me. I was also really struck by the quaintness of Siena and Assisi in Italy just because they are both such small towns.

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  22. You two look so great as a couple. And you're wearing mittens...do I detect that the day had a bit of a chill in the air?

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  23. I've written a lot of books with European settings, but I've never actually been to Europe (except for an emergency middle of the night landing in Vienna to help an old Russian woman who got very sick; I never got off the plane). I'm most eager to visit Russia, Estonia, Hungary, Germany, and the Netherlands, of the European places I've written about.

    I don't recall having been inspired to write a story based on a place I'd visited. Even the cities I'm writing about that are very familiar to me, like Boston, weren't chosen for writing purposes till some time after my first visit.

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  24. The coast does this to me. I love the beach and waves and how beuatiful everyting is. I have MANY places I want to visit so I can base a book there. Many.

    You guys are TOO cute, btw.

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  25. The beach always inspires me, whatever type, but none more than Nice on the French Riviera. It's a rocky beach, but the town is just so...alive. There is definitely magic there.

    And I love to write about the south. There's something about the rolling hills and "mountains" and farmland that just gets me inspired. Probably because I grew up with it.

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  26. I've never traveled somewhere intending to write about the place. It worked the other way, though. Can't stop thinking about some of the places.

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  27. I usually place my setting in places I've lived.

    But there are plenty of places I want to travel to so I can write about them, hehehe. Ireland is a big one. Iceland too. Funny thing is, I am not much of a setting person.. I really need to work on that because you are so right. Setting makes a big difference!

    Andrea

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  28. Location definitely influences my writing. My WIP was inspired by the neighborhood we used to live in. It was beautiful on the surface and rotten underneath. I am also inspired to set a novel in Porto, Portugal. The port wine is fascinating and the architecture there lends itself to a romance.

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  29. Hey,

    Are you on the phone in that pic??? :)

    Cute shot and nice to see Mr. Shamy's face and not only his XGames Shoulders as he climbs another cliff :)

    I am ashamed to say I lived in England for three years and never did Stonehenge (always felt the rocks would be there "tomorrow.")

    Bad writer, bad :(

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  30. France for us. We've never been there but for sure will go with the kids.

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  31. I like to set my stories in locations I am familiar with except of course my fantasy worlds. One day I will take up the challenge and base my scene somewhere I have never visited!

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  32. Cooool! Love the pix too. Personally, experiences (old & new) inspire me and that included travel. :)

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  33. Awesome places to have travelled. I was inspired by Virginia and the Washington DC area. The Potomac River is amazing, as is the history there. But it's no Stonehenge. ;)

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  34. That's what got me writing again. The place is a town by a harbor. I walked through an old brick path just after the rain. It was beautiful and inspiring.

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  35. SO jealous! I want to travel more. You're so right --- setting can play a HUGE part in the story. I love setting. I think it can be fabulous to write. Part of why I like fantasy so much!

    You're awesome girl! Love ya!

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  36. I used to travel a lot as well. I loved visiting different places, different cultures. I've never specifically written about a place I've visited, but my travel experiences have inevitably turned up somewhere in my writing.

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  37. I've traveled all over the US, and we really do have some beautiful places in this country. I write fantasy and I always pull ideas from those places I've been.

    Great post as always, dear lady. I am awarding you the Versatile Blogger Award. You can get details and the badge for your award here: http://sabrinaafish.blogspot.com/

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  38. You know this already, but Paris. Sigh! I am soooo glad I went there, otherwise, I don't think I would be writing now. And Ireland and Boston are inspirational for my second book.

    Gees, Morgs, you've made me want to go travel the world. Well, that's a constant battle. Sigh.

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