Location, Location, Location: Details for a Manuscript

Do you create your location first or do you write a scene first?

For a novel, I decide on the location before I start writing. My first three novels take place in a fictitious ski resort in British Columbia, Canada. The fourth novel takes place in the Bahamas. I chose the location first because I wanted to write about people who live in isolated places.

Some scenes dictate a location, but for others, I might write the scene and then chose a location. I keep track of locations in a spreadsheet. This helps me avoid using one place to often. Believe it or not, in a ski resort not everything happens on the mountain.

If I have a scene written and haven’t chosen a location, I do this by looking at the mood of the scene. Is is romantic, frightening, funny, awkward?  I think about where in my created world the scene will have the greatest impact. Then I add the details.

When reviewing a manuscript, I check for the empty stage syndrome. Did I get carried away with action or dialogue and not describe the location? If I did, I work on describing the location. Sometimes at this stage I drop a clue or a red herring based on location.

Do you decide on location first or write a scene first?

Thanks for reading . . .

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Location, Location, Location: Details for a Manuscript

  1. I usually have the setting in mind before I start writing. Actually, establishing setting is one of my weaknesses, so perhaps I should think about it even more before beginning. Thanks for the tip!

    Like

  2. Since my characters like to interact with their surroundings, I find it hard to write anything without a setting. I have occasionally ended up with the scene set in the wrong place though! When that happens I try to discover what it is that drew me to that setting, and transfer it to the new location. An apartment was changed to a beach house. A French manor became an abandoned mission.
    I like your idea of logging locations on a spreadsheet! It reminds me of a travel journal. 🙂

    Like

    1. Hey Kirsten, I never thought of the spreadsheet as a travel journal, but you’re right. In my fourth novel the main characters travel through the Bahamian islands, so I guess it is their journal. It’s a nice way to look at it. I agree that it’s okay to change where a scene takes place. Sometimes it just demands somewhere else. I also change scene locations if my spreadsheet tells me I’ve too many scenes in one location.

      Like

Thank you for commenting!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s