Thursday, March 14, 2013

Location, Location, Location

Spring is (finally) creeping toward us in New England, and with it came a significant change in the Corrigan household last week: I took a new job, starting in August. Still teaching at a boarding school, but moving to a larger school, and moving from Connecticut to Massachusetts. My 14- and 11-year-old daughters are anxious, as expected, which leaves my wife and I both (very) excited but also (very) anxious for the girls. Next year should prove interesting: a new home, a new school, and a new book out in December.

Hemingway said changing your location was a good thing for a writer – he wrote about Michigan while in Paris, claiming the distance offered better perspective. Of course, Hemingway also said that be to be a successful father, one shouldn't acknowledge his kid for the first two years of the child's life. I'm not into moving my family from one side of New England to the other in hopes of writing better scenes, but I do think a change of scenery offers a writer a great deal.

With any move comes new people entering your life, new sights, new sounds, new smells, and new social dynamics. These offer a writer experiences, emotional experiences, sensory experiences, and social experiences. And these three types of experiences are the elements of good fiction.

On that note, if you are looking for a story starter, try this: Select a location in your area that you have not visited (or do not visit frequently). Go there, and write a scene that uses the setting in some critical way: characters' actions/reactions, dialogue, and their emotional ranges must be in some way impacted by your choice of location.

If you do this, I'd love to read it:

1 comment:

Charlotte Hinger said...

Best of luck to all your family. The move sounds very exciting.