21 January 2013

Write settings you know and love

Vancouver at Dusk (sxc.hu)

I spent most of today enveloped in thick blue fog 18 stories above downtown Vancouver. It's January, so the weather wasn't shocking, although we usually see some semblance of our surroundings by lunchtime.

Normally my desk has a view of the North Shore, albeit through gaps in the buildings across the street. And if I look behind me, I see West Georgia curving into Stanley Park, just out of view.

My cell phone has never taken a decent picture of this view, in either direction, on any day. Not when the sky is overcast or lit with a brilliant golden glow. Not even when the sky is a perfect cerulean blue with a fresh layer of crisp white snow on the mountains along the far horizon.

Thinking about my view in all its many costumes made me think about one of my favourite aspects of writing fiction. I write British Columbia settings I know and love. Describing landscapes and locales in intimate detail allows me to indulge in a near tactile revisiting of each place. While I'm sure some of my settings fall prey to the lens of nostalgia, I like to think I supplement my memories with adequate up-to-date research.

I'm currently working on new stories set in Vancouver, but I've also written about Victoria and several communities in the Okanagan. If you've never visited, they're definitely worth a trip. Even if you travel through the pages of a novel.

Bastion Square alley in downtown Victoria, BC

The iconic Empress Hotel in a rare snow-covered moment

Vernon valley view from Southwind Road

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