Hello, writers. So I've been thinking about place. Not just about setting, which we've discussed several times before (for example here and here) but about the place where you write, and how it becomes a part of what you write.
Several years ago I quit my day job and bought an inexpensive, half-rotten house at the edge of a forest, with the intention of living in it and writing up a storm. Among other things, I wrote the Jinx books there. Had I not lived in that house, I probably would not have written them.
Never buy a house in February.
Well, I did, when it was 4 degrees below zero and everyone was hiding indoors. So I didn't find out till later that the house came complete with several wonderful neighbors and one neighbor from hell. Often I took refuge from the neighbor-from-hell in the forest. Often and more often. And soon the forest was the major part of my protagonist's story.
Finally, right around the time I sent the last Jinx book to HarperCollins, the neighbor from hell achieved a rating of Downright Scary. I upped sticks and moved into my late sister's house. One there, I found out it was really, really hard to try to write in the same space-- heck, the same chair-- in which my sister wrote. So that led to a few months of non-production.
I had to find ways to work around that, and now I'm back in the groove again. Meanwhile, the small town in which the house is located seems to have somehow obtained funding to undertake a project dear to its heart: Tearing up every single street, re-laying the pipes, and then repaving the streets again. Also dear to its heart is starting work before seven am and finishing after nine pm. Saturdays, too.
So now I'm not sure whether I'm going to return to my half-rotten house with the scary neighbor, or write amid the constant sound of digging, jack-hammering, paving, and backing-up construction vehicles. (BEEPbeepBEEPbeepBEEPbeepBEEPbeepBEEP.) Whichever it is, the surroundings are going to come through in the story in some way.
What about the space where you write? What's it like, and how does it show up in your writing?
Consider the place where you write. Consider the things in it, large and small, and the things around it. Think about the sounds that you hear.Take one object from, or one aspect of, the place where you write. Take a character and have him or her confront that object or aspect. Write what happens.
(If you're at a loss for a character, feel free to use the Callow Youth or any of our other Write On! stock characters.)
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