December 10, 2013

Placing the Story on the Ground

Dear M,

It's important to place your story on the ground. As in, the city you have chosen to write about. You could just speak about the apartment your protagonist lives in, or the IT park her office is located in, in a general way without speaking about the location. But I think the story becomes all the more real when the place is named.

As far as Bangalore is concerned, you could say something like, She lives in Indira Nagar, commutes to work at ITPL, goes by bus to Devanahalli to catch a flight to New Delhi etc. For people who know Bangalore, it becomes more real, and more here. They actually see the Volvo bus on its way to the airport. Even to people who don't know Bangalore, the story sounds real than when they read about her house in a crowded residential area or her office in one of the IT Parks in the city or the international airport that was about 30 kms from her place.

The description about the place is also important. Too much description would make a reader groan - For God's sake, I know this place. Will you stop describing it already? I have read books that went on about the position of the market and the buildings and this and that, and I skipped over that paragraph and nothing in the plot was affected. If there is too little, the reader would not get a visual, or whatever he imagines may not be like the original.

There is a balance, and the author decides what the balance is.


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