1. martial_wolf
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    martial_wolf Member

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    Am I Being Ridiculous?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by martial_wolf, Nov 6, 2009.

    I am in the planning stages for my first novel (which is part of a planned series) and I'm officially hung up. It is set in Portland, and I have not proceeded with my planning because I feel like I absolutely have to go to Portland. I've never been there and I feel like it has to happen. So, what do you guys think, am I being too stingy?

    And it's not that big of a stretch for me to go, it would only take maybe six or seven hours to get there.
     
  2. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    Don't hold up your novel. Read what you need to about your location of choice, google what information you need to, start writing, and go there when you get the chance.

    My book is filled with real locations. I have visited most of them. In most cases, I wrote my chapters first and then revised what I wrote after my visits. Most of the necessary revisions were minor, but in every case, knowing what I had written helped me to know what questions to ask when I actually visited the locations. Most of what I needed to know to write my first draft, I learned in my book & google research, and I used my imagination to fill in the descriptions.

    Some of the locations included in my book are: Jefferson's home Monticello in Virginia, Jefferson's lesser known other home, Poplar Forest in Virginia, the Priestley House museum in Northumberland PA, the Old First Reformed Church in Philadelphia PA, three New Jersey locations: the Old Dutch Parsonage in Somerville, Washington's Morristown Headquarters in Morristown and Murray Grove near the shore, the Adams house in Quincy Massachusetts...

    All of them, I visited... most of them, after I had already written my first draft. I'm in my second draft, and there are some I've still never visited: Chillicothe Ohio, which I'll probably never get around to visiting, and the Smithsonian museum in Washington D.C., which I plan to visit.

    Don't let it hold up your writing. You'll have to do a redraft eventually anyway. If you do visit the location, having written the first draft, you'll know what questions to ask yourself and it will make your actual visit more productive.

    Charlie
     
  3. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Are we talking Oregon or Maine?

    Portland, Oregon is not a very complicated place. I mean, there are no special words for things there, the weather is pretty mild, people are pretty laid back, it's a small city, there's nothing unique about it. I don't think you'd need to travel there to get a sense of it.
     
  4. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    People write about places they've never been all the time. It helps to visit, but it's not required.
     
  5. Runaway
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    Runaway Member

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    I would just research the place. A trip isn't necessary, but if you can afford to it's always a good way to get experience, and experience is invaluable.
    Besides, a lot of places are just like the other. One town in Wisconsin's prolly not going to differ too much from the one in Pennsylvania. At least, from my experience.
     
  6. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Portland, Oregon is pretty boring. Really not worth the visit. Albany is sort of a strange place.If you get to close to the paper mill, ugh. Stinky. I lived there for a while, right next to the damn thing. Anyway, the people there are sort of weird, and the town has a weird vibe.
     
  7. martial_wolf
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    martial_wolf Member

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    Thanks guys. I'll do the research and get it moving then. ^^
     
  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Good, because I think CharlieVer has the right idea. Once you have your plot moving, more research or a visit like the one you proposed to a city as large as Portland would give you plenty of choice for real-world equivalents of your story locals to tighten things up.
     

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