In the housing market and business world, location means everything.
What about the writing world? The location and all the parts that make it up can mean everything to a novel too.
A writer can describe a location, a world, or a character easily enough. A good novelist can make up a unique scene or place in their head and transfer it to paper, but what about the little parts?
Sometimes, to get a scene, location, or character completely correct we need to do some research. What is the best kind of research a writer can do? The ‘hands-on’ type.
The best way to describe any part of a story is to live it first.
Bad news: Research can be hard. Good news: Writers can make it easy by researching all the time.
While on a family vacation a few years ago, I did a little research for some of my novels in progress. A single trip to the Arbuckle Wilderness Park in Oklahoma gave me tons of material.
Hands off research shows this is…a small stick floating in a green pond.
Actually being at the location allows… the writer to feel the moisture in the air, smell the stench of stagnant water, hear the rustling of the grass, and see that the small stick developed into a large alligator.
Hands off research shows this is…a tiger taking a bath.
Actually being at the location allows…the writer to realize how large these animals are, feel the danger in the air, smell the musk of a tiger’s spray, see that the cats enjoy the water, and that frogs actually climb out of the liquid and onto the cat’s side. Being there also allowed me to hear the deep chuffing sounds the adult tigers made.
Hands off research shows this is…a VERY cute baby sucking a bottle.
Actually being at the location allows…the writer to watch how the cat pounces, runs, and falls. Yes, they are clumsy at this age. I could see that even a baby tiger has the hunting instinct. More than once, this sweet baby circled, approached my children from behind, and then play attacked, complete with trying to bite the back of the neck. Being there, allowed me to hear the gurgling in his belly as he sucked the bottle.
Location, location, location, can mean everything to a well-written story. What is one of the most important elements you cannot get from any of these pictures?
It was one hundred and eleven degrees that day! Moist, thick heat that refused to provide enough oxygen.