Where Was I?

I have had a couple of rough days, nothing to drastic in the grand scale of things but I’ve had a little bit of stress to get through and a couple of nights with little sleep.  So I’ve been running on empty for the last couple of days, but I’m feeling like me again now 😀  That said I’ve not done any editing whatsoever so come tomorrow I’ll be knocking out a few pages and getting rolling again.

Me and Tracie went and saw The Sweeny on Sunday and we both really enjoyed it.  I would not say that it is the same as the original 1970’s version but it is a damn good crack at how that sort of unit would act in this day and age.  Ray Winstone never gives anything but his best in films and plays Jack Reagan very well  and Ben Drew (A.K.A Rapper Plan B) is very impressive as  George Carter.  With Hayley Atwell, Damian Lewis and Steven Macintosh we have a strong main cast and the support cast hold their own too.  This is a very good film with plenty of edge and some great dialogue.  It does have its weak points but only one really pulled me out of the film, one minute they are in Gravesend and the next they are in a caravan park on the Isle Of Sheppey.  It’s not really explained whether the car chase takes them from Gravesend to Sheppey or if it’s just the filmmakers saying there is a caravan park like that in Gravesend (I just want to point out that I was born, raised and still live in Gravesend which is a forty minute drive to Sheppey) so I know the area quite well.  That aside it’s a film that is a lot of fun 🙂

That does lead into something that needs to be thought about as a writer.  I have often heard other writers on podcasts say that the location details have to be spot on because there is always a chance that someone reading your book or watching your film lives just down the road from where you are setting your story.  That can take the person out of the story and worst case scenario put your book etc. down and never look at anything else that you do.  The part that sucks for all of us starving artists is that we can’t always afford to travel to the places that we write about.  So how do we go into learning about foreign lands without going there.  Let’s say that I am writing a story set in New York the first thing that I would do is Google New York and check out what is said on Wikipedia and follow on from there.  I would also get in touch with a couple of people who I know have been to New York and ask them what they thought of the city.  Then there is Twitter where I’m sure there is someone tweeting and blogging about everyday life in that fine city.  Then there is Google maps and street view.  Obviously not every location on earth has had the attention that New York has had but then it is just a case of digging deeper.

Something that I need to improve in myself is doing all this research.  We can never know enough about a city, or a culture or technology we may talk about, but we also have to be wary of over loading the reader.  I could clock up countless hours doing this research and only use 10% of what I have learnt but knowing all the details makes the story real.  This goes for making sure that our locations are accurate too.



8 thoughts on “Where Was I?

  1. Good points Peter, which is why I tend to write about fictitious places 🙂

    I have a friend who has a published book, set, in and around Medway, but she got away with it by only mentioning Rochester High Street by name, and including a pub that really existed. Everything else was kind if generic if you get what I mean.

    Take your point about New York though. I’m thinking about setting a novel there myself, but, as you say, you have to rely on the Internet and other people’s memories. Not ideal 😦


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