1. Merineliza
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    Merineliza Member

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    Basing a book in country you haven't even visited?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Merineliza, Mar 6, 2013.

    Is it alright to base a book in a country you haven't visited. My book simply does not belong in my country. I can write my book story happenning in my country cause it would seem out of place. So, Will basing the story in a different country be a problem?
     
  2. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    It's okay...but you have to do a quite a bit of research (especially if the setting is important in the story) I live in Britain and writing a story in a city not my own required research...A whole new country will require double that. Use Google and try ask people who actually live there.
    Hope that helped :]
     
  3. Merineliza
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    Merineliza Member

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    Thank you. But I guess if the setting isn't important. Except for a few things about food and sunny days and maybe about parks, the story does not require any particular setting. So, I guess it'll be ok. :)
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    'arks'?
     
  5. Merineliza
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    Merineliza Member

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    Sorry, I meant parks. changed it. :)
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Google Earth or Google Maps can give you a very good satellite image of just about anything except Dick Cheney's house. The street views are great wherever they are available but even when not, there is a collection of images people have provided like vacation pics.

    Do consult a map if you are using a real country so you don't make a basic mistake like putting Portland north of Vancouver. Unless you do it on purpose to create one of those 'negative thing gets talked about' marketing gimmicks. ;)

    Or, you could just make up a fictional country.
     
  7. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi OP,

    Don't tie yourself down with detail. Write free, why shouldn't anybody know story is written from perspective of author living across the globe. Write the words first at least. You might feel silly feeding the family (eg)tiffin first draft, but this might give piece qualities you never imagined by the end.

    I've often wanted to write a travel guide based entirely on imagination (please don't steal this, is within top ten scheme pile.) copylaw 2013n perpetua:)
     
  8. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    This...
    ...does not seem to align with this...
    Only you will know which is the case, but they can't both be true. I'm guessing that there is a certain intangible about life in your country that would not sustain the story you have in mind. Maybe it has to do more with people than the place. If that's the case, then the research you need to do will not be geographical as much as cultural. Given the vagueness of your post, it's impossible to say.
     
  9. jwideman
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    jwideman Senior Member

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    It sounds like it doesn't matter where your story is set, except for flavor.
     
  10. Shannonpeel
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    Shannonpeel Member

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    I thought you may be looking for a really rainy part of the world like Vancouver.

    Does it have to be a real place or can you create a fantasy place?
    There is a true story, which is very dear to me, but it happened somewhere I've never seen in a culture very different from mine. I tried research, pictures, library, and even reading other stories written about it, but I just couldn't make it authentic. It is really hard if you can't see the setting, feel the environment or even fully understand cultural ways of life to write about it.

    My really good friend told me to stay with what I know, which is hard because what I know seems so ordinary. However when I started taking the premise of the story and putting it into a setting I knew it was a lot easier.
     
  11. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I use places familiar to me, ( a takeaway place, a magistrate's office, a hospital, an apartment building) and I set it in the location of my choice. All you really need specific knowledge for is to describe how a character got to some place either on foot or driving, and for that, you can use maps and Google Earth.
    The most important is to get the "flavour" for the nation you are describing. This is why I don't have main setting in countries I've never been to, but it is perfectly doable.
     
  12. jwideman
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    jwideman Senior Member

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    The "write from your own experiences" is another commonly misunderstood bit of writing advice. It results in people waiting until they have experiences to write about instead of using their imaginations.
     
  13. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    The "write what you know" refers to universal situations, conflicts and feelings which you can use to give authenticity to anything you are writing about. For example, if you struggled with money all your life you can write about an aristocratic family who fell on hard times, if your dog died you can write about a death of a beloved king, if you had a massive fight with your childhood nemesis you can pretty much authentically portray murderous hatred and rage, if you ever went to a Chinese takeaway shop you can give authenticity to your fictional neighbourhood by anchoring some details that pertain to you getting a special fried rice from Duan every Friday night.

    Writing what you know does not mean you have to experience every single situation you want to write about.
     
  14. TheRuler
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    TheRuler New Member

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    What country would it be, then?
     

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