Tada! Hollywood and all it’s glory. The beautiful city of LA. Where I currently reside for the next week and a half. It’s sunny, and warm, and full of famous people. Well, sort of. It’s actually really cloudy right now and people have left for Memorial Day Weekend. Which actually brings me to my point: Just because you see it on TV, or you read it in a book doesn’t mean it’s how it is.
See, whenever I see Los Angeles on television, they always show streets lined with palm trees, and girls in tube tops. Sunny days and super stars, when in reality it’s not usually like that. Every time I come to visit my family out here it’s just another city in another state. It has it’s own little culture. Just like everywhere else.
So this begs the question, how do you write a story which resides in a place you’ve never been? Information on TV is rarely accurate, as it’s manipulated to fit the desires of the director. You could always visit, as I like to do, but the truth is, I’ve never actually been to quite a few places where my stories take place. Let’s see a list.
- New York City
I think that’s all of them. Real cities aren’t like fantasy worlds, which you can make up as you go. If you make something up, you’ll probably offend someone. So what could the answer be? What can you possibly do to get the information you need to write a city, state, country, that you’ve never been to.
It’s simple: RESEARCH.
I spend hour researching everything from weather patterns, to street names, to famous buildings, who lives there, what kind of restaurants are popular, and everything! I look at diversity rates, jobs, cleanliness, accents, and so on and so forth until I have a good sense of what’s going on. Wikipedia, government sites, blogs from people visiting. All good places to do research.
But you have to look it up. The best thing to do is visit the place, but money and time might keep you from doing so. Just make sure to do something other than making it up as you go, because a realistic setting could make or break your story. It’s the tiny details that matter.
Anyone have any way to research other countries or cities?
(P.S still sick. Hope to be better soon. Have a happy Memorial Day!)