|The 1932 official Wyoming highway map|
from University of Wyoming Libraries.
In the West, place is itself a character: one that appears to suffer from bipolar disorder, weather-wise. But anywhere you set your story, a good sense of place informs both characters and plot and allows the reader to immerse themselves in the story.
In Writing Fiction Step by Step, Josip Novakovich (gesundheit) writes:
"No setting is to be underestimated ... What may seem to be a boring town, once you begin to analyze its history, its people and its stories, may become an amazing place."
So let's go on a blind date with a place and see what happens, shall we?
Maps place prompt
Start with a stack of road maps from different states. Everyone picks one randomly. Switch out if you get a place familiar to you. Open the maps and quickly pick a place. Go by instinct, not by reason. Don't think about it too much.
Now that you have your place, here are some options. Write about a character or from the perspective of a character:
- Who lives there, loves it and can't imagine living anywhere else.
- Who lives there, hates it, and can't imagine why they stay.
- Whose car broke down there.
- Who always dreamed of living there and finally moved there.
- Who grew up there and is coming back to visit friends or family after a long time away.
- Who is seeing this place for the first time.
Give it about 15-20 minutes on this one and see what happens!