The thing about this tool is that writers now have the ability to depict accurately cities. I thought about this for some time, because my novels are urban fiction and setting is important.
Some of the most successful novels in recent times are set in real locations. The DaVinci Code, by Dan Brown, spans across Europe at dizzying speeds. Stopping at landmarks as the hero struggles to solve a puzzle. The paranormal love triangle between Bella and her suitors is set in a real small town. Avid fans can book a 3-day / 2-night tour at the Olympic Peninsula and visit every important spot. They are welcomed with open arms from the hospital, to the police station to the Indian reservation. Just as in real estate … location, location, location.
But then … what about Harry Potter? The only ‘real’ location was the train station. Ah … Hogwarts was a world unto its own and it’s why Disney created it. I think the most important thing, besides accurately describing a location, is evoking the right ambiance. Its why we read, isn’t it? It’s not for description it’s for a feeling.
Location may set the stage but it doesn’t necessarily capture the mood. A good writer needs to make a reader feel the heat and see the steam rising from the grates as a subway train passes under their feet in New York. A reader should wrinkle their nose in distaste if the location is Venice in the summer months, when the city’s sewage system is being pumped directly into its famous canals and the sun is baking it into a fragrant aroma. A reader should feel the excitement, the mad adrenaline rush of the mob mentality, when they’re whisked away to the tiny village of Bunyol, Spain to participate in the summer festival of the largest tomato fight. Yes, this is what location should do for a story. Give you a feeling of why things are, the way they are.
For a virtual tour of the DaVinci Code locations click here.
For more information on La Tomatina festival click here.
If you really want to spend some time in Forks, you can click here.