Lives, Location, #AtoZchallenge

What’s my genre?  No idea!  What do I write about?  Lives, I write about lives, family lives, everyday ordinary stories of everyday ordinary people and what they have to go through in their lives.

There’s usually a death; wedding; family; selection of friends of different ages and from different locations; things happen; people travel; people meet, fall in love and have families, that’s what I write about.

Locations used in my current drafts include Yorkshire; Cumbria; Cambridgeshire and London for places they live.  Those are all places I’ve lived and know well.  Locations where characters travel to include Paris, Gdansk and Treviso, places I know nothing about (I went to Paris once!)  I need to get out more!


I picked Paris as I needed a train journey that a family might take together for a long weekend.  Gdansk popped into my mind but I now know that you can get a flight from Stanstead to Gdansk and that suits that novel too.  I need to find out how long those flights have been running and how you would have got to Gdansk from Cambridge in the 1970’s.  Why Treviso? (which I keep writing as Trevisio)  In ‘Holiday Stories the story called for a trip to the airport for John to pick up his sister.  The nearest airport at the time I wanted him to have to go to the airport happened to have an arrival from Treviso.  That’s why.  Using real life practicalities helps my imagination explore the locations the families would interact with.

How do you pick the locations in your writing?  Whose lives do you write about?

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’.


27 thoughts on “Lives, Location, #AtoZchallenge

  1. I love writing in faraway places with science fiction and fantasy, but I’m also patriotic enough to try to give my books a Canadian spin. The book I’m writing for Camp Nano has taken me from Toronto to a domed city in the Sirius star system. Oddly, I seem to be more drawn to Toronto than the towns I live and work in, possibly because they don’t seem to have as much magic as Toronto does.

    I’ve written stories in an alternate world where North America has a Queen, (Africa, North Carolina, and Wyoming,) on a generation starship a few light years away, and in Buffalo, mostly just because I wanted it to be close to the Canadian border.

  2. My novel is part set in the afterlife, but I wanted the bits set on Earth to be in my home town – Leicester! Which is actually proving to be a nice comic contrast so far. I still need to do more research but that can wait for the next draft. Your stuff sounds great.

  3. My first novel and what will be a series is set in the area I live. It makes it easy. Nottingham has enough about it to make it viable as well. I do have an idea bubbling for a foreign set novel and that location is a place I’d love to visit, so for me, it’s about me and the location I suppose.

    • I could write a whole book based on Nottingham railway station.. I’ve spent a lot of times there watching people come and go. it’s one of those stations that tries to chuck people out sideways but I refuse to follow their directions and like to go out the front.. old fashioned, me!

  4. Gdansk in the 70s would have been hard to access as it was behind the Iron Curtain. Direct flights from Heathrow maybe, or more likely via Warsaw, with BA or Polish Airways (LOT, I think). I joined a travel agent in 78 and they did tours to Bulgaria with Union Travel. Very unusual at that time. You must have access to some old travel agents in Peterborough! Good luck with the research.
    Happy A to Z-ing
    Jemima at Jemima’s blog

    • Thanks Jemima, Yes I guessed as much which is why I wanted it in. it fits with the Dad being a dark horse Cambridge english lecturer for me. Oops might have found a flaw in the whole novel though.. hmm.. I presume Polish immigrants were not that high then.. oops. Drat.. Now I have to brush up on my history too! Might need to rethink the backstory of that novel..

      • Polish immigrants rife in W London – there was a Polish Government in exile from the war. My school was 1/3rd Polish! I’ll contact you later.

  5. I stick to either places I am very familiar with or places I made up. Writing about real places I have never been to always backfires on me.

    Returning visit from A to Z. This is my first year participating and I am having a blast.

    Brett Minor
    Transformed Nonconformist

    • Thanks for the return visit Brett.
      I can feel a few backfires creeping up on me.. more around if anyone would actually have got to Gdansk.. or not at the time they need to in my novel.. whoops!
      Good you’re having a blast, I hope part 2 of the AtoZ is as good for you. I’ve got M ready and a few drafted but now need another 13 sketches and to write the rest..

  6. I tend to choose locations that are somewhat familiar, in part because those settings inspire stories and in part because that familiarity frees me to dive right into the story line knowing I can go back and paint in the details later. I admire your willingness to set your novel somewhere you’ve never been–not that I don’t think it’s a do-able thing, but because it does require so much extra work.

    • The main parts of the novels are always in places I know reasonably well. I now realise my characters backstories or ‘flashback’ bits are often in locations I’ve never been to.. Might need to do much more travelling than I’d planned!
      Extra work & challenging, typical of me! I’m not sure my locations ahve anything to do with willingness, it’s where the characters and the story send me.. Can’t go changing their history to make it easier for me now can I! 😉

    • Ros, do you, Marie and Wayne know each other in real space? If not it looks like Leicester’s taking over AtoZ! tee hee.. I’ve lived in so many places in the UK (other thank Leicester) that I now have a nice selection to include in my stories.
      When I start there’s a rough outline of the story and as the characters come on board they tell me where they’re from.

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