Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Writing tips - The place you know!

Jalón - setting for PAST SINS
AJ, I know it might sound strange, but is it acceptable to be writing a story set in the same city where I live? I want to give it authenticity but it seems too familiar - a bit naff - what do you think?
Katie, It’s more than okay, it’s excellent. When writing ANY story, be it short or full length novel, it's important to write about things you’re familiar with – especially when you’re struggling to make your mark - it's what I always advise.
Your hometown might seem old-fashioned and uninteresting to you, but it's spanking new for the rest of us.... and an additional benefit is if people have visited the town, they can pick out elements they know and will empathize with the book - if they already live there, they’ll be thrilled.
I did this when writing PAST SINS. It’s centred on Jalón on the Costa Blanca, Spain - where I now live. Readers have commented several times that they’ve recognized landmarks, bars etc - it's a good feeling.
Writing about a place you're comfortable with means you'll create an authenticity that's impossible to encapsulate in any other way. You should ALWAYS research, but first-hand knowledge is irreplaceable.

Go for it. Write about what you know – the extra zing will make your work shine.