Smell the story

I’ve been working pretty hard on my latest project. Since January, I’ve logged 79,000 words on my latest YA novel. My goal was to have a complete first draft, ugly as a fairytale stepmother, done. Mission accomplished.

I’ve written and envisioned the whole story using Google maps and internet research. Which has been fun and good. But I’ve never been to the place.

So, I decided to visit. I’ve got lots of sensory detail missing from the story. The sounds and smells, the color of the earth, all that sort of thing isn’t in yet. Just basic plots and dialogue. I’ve mapped out how my character moves, and good estimates of how long it takes for him to walk here or drive there.

My wife asked how important this visit is, and what percentage improvement this visit might have on the story. The honest answer is this: I don’t know. Never done this. It seems to me like it could add a lot. But, I’ll let you know.

So, I’m there for 4 days. On my list of things to do is to walk the paths my character walks. Experience most parts of the day. And sniff the air. Visit the businesses. And listen to the people talk. And visit the school.

I’ve got my camera and my laptop. I should have a million pictures. The fronts of the houses I’ve used. The storefronts of the downtown. I’ll try to get a sense of it all.

It’s a first for me. I leave on a red-eye tonight. So stay tuned. I”ll try to post a few pics after I’ve got a few. Assuming I can find internet access.

About Bill Bunn

Bill’s excited because his second YA novel, Kill Shot, is now available everywhere! Bill Bunn is the author of several books, essays, and articles. He is currently writing two pages a day to generate the rough draft of his next novel. Bill Bunn lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Bill teaches English at Mount Royal University.
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