Gloria’s short story Alicia, was just published. She was kind enough to write a guest post on using real locations in fiction. A quick note, I just read it and loved it!
Location, Location, Location
by Gloria Weber
My latest short story release, ALICIA, was a contest entry. The contest parameters were fairly simple. Write a story based on an image. The image had a female walking away from a male in a field with a backdrop of trees.
The setting of the picture reminded me of a section in my local state park. The spot is a particular favorite of mine. Lately, I’ve been into using, in part or in whole, real places, be they displaced into a fictional town or in their true setting, so I decided to use this spot in my tale.
At this park, aside from the big field and woods, there’s a volleyball court, picnic tables, and a parking lot. These bits made it into the story, as did my kids and I. Sure, these weren’t in the image, but they could have existed off to the left or right of them.
The details I used were the ones I felt served the story. These details, like me and my kids, gave the setting life beyond the main characters. The freshly cut grass and the hot day set it in time, summer.
In part, the details I chose made the setting feel like it could be anywhere. Well, not the dessert of the American southwest or the swamps of the south, but it could be lots of other places: Connecticut, Oregon, Tennessee, Montana, New Jersey, and so on.
This park also has a path that leads into the woods and leads to another picnicking area under pavilion, a chunk of meadow they don’t mow (for the wildlife), a building with bathrooms, and more. Again, these bits could have existed just off of the side of the inspirational image.
While the omitted details are real, those details don’t serve my story in anyway. It was clutter. Fiction allows me to edit what isn’t necessary from a place, like remodeling a kitchen.
Remember earlier when I said I’ve been into using real places in my fiction? There’s a reason for that.
“Grow your tree of falsehood from a small grain of truth.” – Czeslaw Milosz
For me, that gives the best results.
If you’re wondering, I didn’t win the contest. However, Solstice Publishing liked my story so much they decided to release it. So, if a story with a touch of fantasy and romance is your thing, please pick up ALICIA (http://amzn.com/B01417P1GA).
Gloria Weber lives in Ohio with her husband, son, daughter, and many pets. Her website is http://gloriaweber.wordpress.com and she can be found onTwitter as @GloriaWeber or on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GloriaWeberWriter