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ProAm Tips #24 - Research

August 25, 2017

As a writer, I like to put my stories in places that will become sort of a third character. You don’t want stories that could take place in front of a white sheet that  seems just as valid in  Philadelphia,  New York City, or Guam. WHERE you put your story is important. If you’re going to be specific, be really specific. Pick a place for a reason and write about it like you KNOW it. Especially if your characters are natives.

 

Now, as a human being who wasn’t born dripping rich, I’ve never been to most of the world. Say, 99.4%. I may be rounding down. But… I think I’ve successfully put stories in Chicago, New York City, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Arizona, Kansas, and Texas. Spoiler alert: I’ve only lived in two of those places.

 

I’ve been lucky enough to spend time in almost all of them, though. Did it help? Yes. In Chicago, I spent a wonderful afternoon in the Art Institute, gazing in awe at some of my favorite artists’ works. George Seurat’s magnificent A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, for instance. Arguably the greatest work of pointillism that exists. And so m