Apologies, I can’t get the typeface right for the heading and name of the location.. Drat.. I’ve got so much to learn about blogging and Poland and.. everything.. Why do I make life so tough all the time? Don’t answer that.
In ‘Bags’, the parents of the family spend time working in Gdansk in early 1970’s. Why? I don’t mean, ‘Why did they?’, I know the answer to that, I mean why on earth did I choose that location? I know nothing of Poland, let alone that city. Write what you know. I’m sure if I had more money and liked travelling alone more, I’d visit the place and be able to write about it better, but I’ll never be able to visit it in the 1970’s, as an English lecturer with his young wife carrying all their baggage of life. I have no idea how I’m going to make that part of the novel realistic.
When the 17,000 shipbuilders in Gdansk went on strike, the world knew about it, well, I heard about it as a university undergraduate, the images are still very strong in my mind. Not understanding what was going on, it intrigued me and I was mesmerised by Lech Walesa’s presence.
Ok, here’s how I’m going to do it.. one step at a time and I mean little teeny weeny steps.. I need to get my timeline sorted first.. I’m determined to keep Gdansk as a location in the novel. I want my characters to live their lives in what will later become a world reknown location but they’re just getting on with life and little realisation of what’s happening around them. Have I bitten off more than I can chew? (I need more cliche’s in my writing;). Probably.
If you have personal experience of Gdansk feel free to get in touch to help my location seem as real as I want it to.
Do you pick ‘easy’ locations for your novels or do you find yourself with grit and toil along the way?
My AtoZchallenge posts are about writing, parts of my novels or some research I need to do for them. I’m not allowing myself to write about anything other than topics linked to the books, my books. The current titles that I’m writing about are ‘Bags’, ‘Holiday stories’ and ‘Dream Gardener’.
You really do like a challenge, don’t you, Lynne? Maybe you need to rustle up Dr. Who and take a little trip in his Tardis to 1970s Poland, Or, failing that, I guess you’re just going to have to find some people who lived there during that time period–shouldn’t be too difficult.
I tend to choose semi-familiar settings for my novels, but I do think it’s possible for authors to write convincing and credible stories set in places they’ve never visited. The interwebs are a marvel. 🙂
Thanks Kern. As I weave my way through this AtoZ I’m learning so much about myself as a writer which wasn’t expected! I’ve also found out that I can fly there from my nearest airport! a little trip might be in order. Must brush up on my Polish, brush up? I know nothing. Not even hello.. oops.. a few sentences might be good so I can put them in the novel. Convincing and credible? Not me..
Huge thanks for popping by and commenting. I’d better get some more sketches done or there won’t be a post here tomorrow..
Hi Lynne – I think that whole ‘write what you know’ thing gets taken far too literally. If we only ever wrote about our personal experiences, how would we get to exercise our imaginations or learn about new stuff? Your setting sounds really interesting – only sorry I know nothing about Poland!
Funnily enough, I have an idea for a novel that is based in USSR late 60’s early 70’s, so if I eventually get around to writing that (I haven’t even finished the first draft of my first novel yet!) I will be in a similar position to you. Great post again, Lynne.
Thanks Wayne. It turns out a mate at work has been there, has photos and will talk to me about it! the wonders of social media.. I always post these there too! Good luck with your USSR based one when you get around to writing it. NaNoWriMo idea maybe?
A trip would be great if you could do it! Place is so important. And instead of doing the historical research online, you could maybe visit relevant museums and places for the time era, while you’re there to get snippets of authenticity for that. I’ve an idea growing in my head that I may have to address similar to this, but it’s way in the future for me. Have fun with it!
Thanks Rebecca. I do need to get out more and a bit of travelling might be in order.
I look forward to seeing blog posts about it! 🙂
That’s why I write fantasy and sci-fi. Don’t have to get all the details right. Good luck with your research.
Thanks Rinelle, I think, like everything, I’m getting too bogged down in what I think I need to do compared with what I need to do which is a light touch..
I think the fun about writing what you don’t know is that you get to learn so much!! Go for it!!
I was just thinking too…”Write what you know’ might result in quite limited viewpoints. A person writing about what they didn’t know (lol) is most likely to find nuances which an ”expert” might not have found…In writing it is all about perspective…
Hi Lynne! Great post and I think Gdansk is a great location, don’t get discouraged. What you can’t find out, make up!
Also I keep forgetting to mention that I really like your sweet and simple sketches. Nice work!
Ruby is participating in the A to Z Challenge
Thanks Ruby.. the sketches run out today.. tomorrow’s is going to be late.. oops!
I think it’s great that you challenge yourself with the research. It’s inspiring and a good lesson for us to do the same! Good luck!
Thanks Maria, it feels like I’ve been doing this challenge forever.. we’re not even half way yet..
I’ve never been to Gdansk but I lived in Poland until 1990, experienced martial law as a young mother with 2 little children. I was very active in Solidarity.
ooh Interesting but tough life by the sounds of it. Mind if I get in touch? You might be able to help about info to help my novel including info on adoption. sshh spoiler..