How do you write about a place you’ve never been to? How do you convey the distinctive feeling and atmosphere of somewhere unfamiliar?
That’s the problem I’ve been facing these past weeks while plodding away at the third book in our series, Darkness, Set us Free. I have seen a fair amount of our beautiful country (it was only two weeks ago that I explored the Otago region in the South Island), but recently, our characters have found themselves in territory I have never been to. And embarrassingly, it’s not too far from home.
I’ve read all of DOC’s reports on the area to try and get a feel of the terrain and obstacles my characters might encounter. And there’s only so much scouring of Google Earth one can do. Additionally, Trip Advisor reviews can only go so far.
My back-up plan was to spend a weekend there, hike the trails, and get a good feel of the place. Unfortunately, with the seriousness of Covid-19, it looks like I probably won’t have the chance to explore this area anytime soon.
For now, I may have to take some creative license until I get the chance to visit this place in person! It will be interesting to see how my description in the book compares with real life.
Have you ever had to write about a real place that you’ve never been to? How did you do it?
Let me know in the comments below!