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Old 04-08-2020, 09:03 AM   #11
SBdeb
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Default Re: Choosing a Location Where the Writer has Never been

I did an entire script in a state I'd never been using internet research per these suggestions, but I also found a writer from there to help ensure I was on the right track on the place and the way of life as well. I think it turned out nicely, and when I had a fellow read it who lived there he said to me "there aren't parking structures there, just parking lots."

I felt okay about his single suggestion in my 100 plus page script
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Old 05-04-2020, 03:13 AM   #12
Merrick
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Default Re: Choosing a Location Where the Writer has Never been

Bear in mind that you can't answer this with a blanket statement. For instance, I have been to Africa, and I can tell you that culturally I would have no idea how to have written Africa had I not been there. Meaning the nuance of it all. But, the simple idea that I was in "Africa" is not so simple because I went to one country only, and there are thousands of cultures there.

I have lived on a few continents, and the way of life is extremely different in different countries. Without spending a few years in a place, you will likely lack nuance.

But, if you are from USA and writing about another part of USA and have met people from that area, visited areas not too dissimilar to it, it is probably doable.

I'm not opposed to writing about people and places you don't know intimately. But you are going to have to work 5x as hard to do the research and even after that will still need to consult with a few people who know.

Last edited by Merrick : 05-04-2020 at 04:38 AM.
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Old 05-04-2020, 04:47 AM   #13
Satriales
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Default Re: Choosing a Location Where the Writer has Never been

Quote:
Originally Posted by Merrick View Post
Bear in mind that you can't answer this with a blanket statement. For instance, I have been to Africa, and I can tell you that culturally I would have no idea how to have written Africa had I not been there. Meaning the nuance of it all. But, the simple idea that I was in "Africa" is not so simple because I went to one country only, and there are thousands of cultures there.

I have lived on a few continents, and the way of life is extremely different in different countries. Without spending a few years in a place, you will likely lack nuance.

But, if you are from USA and writing about another part of USA and have met people from that area, visited areas not too dissimilar to it, it is probably doable.

I'm not opposed to writing about people and places you don't know intimately. But you are going to have to work 5x as hard to do the research and even after that will still need to consult with a few people who know.
This is the entire job of writing. Better get used to it.
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Old 05-04-2020, 05:14 AM   #14
Merrick
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Default Re: Choosing a Location Where the Writer has Never been

Err ... I'm not sure that's the entire job of writing? Plenty of people write about their own immediate surroundings and life situations.

The OP is asking about a place they've never even visited? That's pretty disconnected in my opinion. A male can write about a female, but a male has encountered and spent vast hours with females before doing so and has some context.

Looking at photos on a web search and reading wiki entries alone - is it enough for context? I would absolutely suggest to visit the place when possible if you have no context at all to it.

It can be done without it, but you're making the job tons of times harder than it needs to be.

I have written about cultures outside of my own, but I've at least visited.
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Old 05-04-2020, 06:03 AM   #15
catcon
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Default Re: Choosing a Location Where the Writer has Never been

Choosing a location... and making it realistic...

On this, I'll bring up that example I wrote about in another thread, that involved my doing a ton of research on Scottish brogue and Cockney:

re: Writing gotta (etc.)

I checked my folders list and found nearly a dozen links of the applicable slang, including: UK - American translator, Cockney rhyming phrases, Scottish slang, Contractions of negated auxiliary verbs in English, old Scottish sayings, Glasgow patter, English to Cockney, ... sheesh. As I wrote there, a lot of research - and I've found that typically I only end up using about 20 percent of my research in the final result (which is pretty painful).

And, yes, I noticed variations in each 'list' of phrases, but I still thought I had it pegged well enough; it's just a script, after all.

But then all of us saw user 'Crayon' response to my post, who writes my example very differently - because he's from that specific area of Britain.

I thank Crayon, but it's a script from 2011 and I'm not going to recheck all my sources and rewrite the thing. I think any non-British reader will 'get it', and UK-readers who'd produce the thing for a British audience would rewrite it anyway (not to mention rights clearances, finding ways to reduce the budget, etc. etc.).

There's only so much you can do.
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Old 05-04-2020, 06:28 AM   #16
Satriales
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Default Re: Choosing a Location Where the Writer has Never been

Quote:
Originally Posted by Merrick View Post
Err ... I'm not sure that's the entire job of writing? Plenty of people write about their own immediate surroundings and life situations.

The OP is asking about a place they've never even visited? That's pretty disconnected in my opinion. A male can write about a female, but a male has encountered and spent vast hours with females before doing so and has some context.

Looking at photos on a web search and reading wiki entries alone - is it enough for context? I would absolutely suggest to visit the place when possible if you have no context at all to it.

It can be done without it, but you're making the job tons of times harder than it needs to be.

I have written about cultures outside of my own, but I've at least visited.
If you want to parse my turn of phrase - yes, there is actually, literally more to writing than that. You win.

Sure, Iíd love to visit Vietnam. Hasnít happened. Guess what? I still set the project up because itís my job to make you think Iíve been there. Iím not making it harder. Thatís the job.

Off to google lunar surface photos.
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Old 05-04-2020, 06:51 AM   #17
Merrick
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Default Re: Choosing a Location Where the Writer has Never been

It is doable and possible to sell those kind of projects no doubt. And congratulations if that is indeed what you did.

Easy case in point. I live in a Nordic country. The film Midsommar is pretty much a joke out here. It laughably makes no sense. People went to see it because of how silly it is not because of how scary it is.
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Old 05-04-2020, 12:00 PM   #18
Satriales
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Default Re: Choosing a Location Where the Writer has Never been

And it was well liked critically and made $50M on a sub-$10M budget. What's your point?
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