Writing Tips – Part 3

Writing Tips by JT Scott

Author of the Sammy Rambles series about a boy and his dragon.

This is a short series of writing tips which will feature each month and offer tips and advice on how to create a story. Part 3 covers how to come up with ideas for creating memorable locations.

Part 3 – Where will your characters meet?

Last month, we covered the types of plot you might like to use for your story and now it’s time to find out where your characters will meet and where elements of your plot will take place.

If you are writing a romance story, your characters might meet on the train, or at work. For a horror story, you might choose the location to be a graveyard or a deserted house. As the writer, you can choose whether the location is real or imaginary.

When writing the Sammy Rambles books, I used several locations for my characters to meet and interact in the plot. I needed somewhere to introduce the reader to Sammy Rambles and his friends. Then I needed somewhere for them to go to school, somewhere for them to live and somewhere for the action to take place.

I knew I wanted the events in my plot to take place in a castle and so I drew on my own experiences of visiting English Heritage castles and National Trust stately homes for inspiration. I could have used a desert island as the location for the Sammy Rambles story, but it wouldn’t have been the same.

These are some ideas for choosing the location for your story:

  • Is your location real? Is it in the UK? Abroad? On Earth? Or, is it somewhere imaginary?
  • Is it somewhere rural or urban? A village, town, city? Why? What difference does it make?
  • Does your story take place in-land, on an island, on a river, a lake or at sea?
  • Do your characters meet on a train? A plane? A boat?
  • Is your location somewhere for your characters to live? A cottage, a house, a castle?
  • If it is a building, is it a school? University? An office or other workplace?
  • If it is a workplace, is it an office or a shop, perhaps a butcher, bakery, café or restaurant?

Lots of stories use multiple locations and these depend on the characters you have created and what they are doing in your plot. In my books, Sammy Rambles goes from his home to the school which is located in a castle, but not everyone can see the castle. He visits his friend’s house which is on a sheep farm that I invented and there is also the school trip to the fictional Floating Circus.

When writing your story, it is inevitable that the location will evolve and your characters will move from place to place. It can be helpful to draw a map on paper with the names of your locations and use nametags and arrows to show which characters are in which location at a particular point in your story.

Next month, the writing tips will cover when things will happen in your story and how you can easily create a timeline for your characters to interact in your plot and in different locations.