Chapter 10

Navigating the Locations in Your Stories

In This Chapter

arrow Deciding on a location

arrow Imagining the setting in detail

arrow Creating your own worlds

Every story has to take place somewhere – even if it’s in the middle of nowhere! The location is an essential ingredient, and a story set on a remote island is sure to unfold differently to one played out in inner-city London. The story also takes place at a certain point in time, and that time becomes an intrinsic part of the story as well; a story set 200 years ago is going to be very different to the same story taking place today.

In some stories the location is so important that it becomes like a character: readers simply can’t imagine the events taking place anywhere else (think of Graham Greene’s seedy portrayal of Brighton in Brighton Rock (1938), the Yorkshire moors in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1847) or Gustave Flaubert’s rural Normandy in his 1856 novel Madame Bovary). A story can’t take place in a vacuum; without a strong sense of place, readers feel lost or distanced from the narrative.

A book with a strong sense of place takes readers out of their own world and into another reality. As I consider in this chapter, ...

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