I am just back from the airport having dropped a very dear friend off to take on the next leg of her journey before heading home to Canada. We returned from a shamanic conference and have spent this week exploring our own country, with our friend.
What struck me is how little we know about our own back yard and it takes someone from afar to galvanise us into exploring and discovering what lies on our doorstep. It can be a very enlightening experience going to the museums, country parks, heritage centres that one drives past on a daily basis and actually taking the time to go in and visit.
There is such a depth of information and local knowledge that is just waiting to be discovered and tapped in to. For a writer, these places are gold mines because they can aid the writer in the “back story” and provide a detailed local setting for a situation that would otherwise be a conventional ‘the man walked down the street’ type of thing. Having the detail of a place aids to the depth of the writing and adds authenticity to the work.
Being able to connect to a place will enable the local readers to feel connected to the story, so to know that the park on Simble Street used to be part of a textile mill storage yard is an essential thing if the writer wants to engage with the local readers. For non locals it will add a depth to the writing that will encourage them to want more.
So, the next time you have a friend to stay, why not go an explore your local museums and other attractions and find out what you have been “not seeing” right under your nose. It will help your writing a great deal.