We have our characters, we have our plot – now we need the perfect setting. We look through travel books, search the internet for some exotic location, because of course, nothing less will do for this fantastic story we have to write. We could spend days or weeks searching for this amazing location, but the truth is, we can find the settings of our stories right under our noses.
Stories evolve from what we know about ourselves and what we know is often reflected in our neighborhood. Place has a part in defining who we are. It’s always exciting to travel, but often the best stories our born from our own life. Home is where we find comfort and we know it like nowhere else.
There are many things we can gather from the places we live. Ask yourself, what do you love or hate about where you live? Do you fear it? Hide in it? Are you comforted by it? Writing about your neighborhood or the places you have lived make your stories unique. Take a walk through your own or explore neighborhoods near you. Observe how they look, observe the people in them (try not to look creepy). Take pictures, fill your imagination with the things you see – what is it like to live in a big city? A small town? What does it feel like to sleep in the woods hearing only the wind or the bark of a dog; what does the constant flow of traffic sound like? What do you feel about that tiny empty playground? What is the difference between city people and country folk? Their behaviour? Their attitude?
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J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.