When we travel, learn about somewhere new, or even just look at a picture, I think it’s possible to be affected by a place, and that that place can stick with you in the back of your mind. I know I have a few places like that, and that if I could only find a plot to go with it, I’d write about it. Personally, I can’t form together a story just from a place. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), it all kind of comes together at once in my mind — the plot, the place, and the people, and I just keep the ideas there until they formulate into scenes. Initially I have very little control over where my ideas come from.
Someday, though, I hope to develop the talent to write around my settings bucket list. This would involve settings like:
- The Universe
How original, right? The universe? There have been hundreds of thousands of stories written and told about the cosmos. However, these stories often involve people, or humanoid like, futuristic aliens, limited in their mobility by space ships and slightly bending the laws of physics. I wouldn’t want to write about humans, or space travel, per say. I’m a big dreamer about forms of life that we couldn’t possibly comprehend because we are limited by our four dimensions. The problem with this, though, is that I can’t exactly say what that form of life would think like, and how I could form that into a story that would be compelling.
- Harper’s Ferry/Antietam
This is a case of that cathartic trip you take, and realize something about yourself, so you keep that place in the back of your mind for the rest of your life sort of thing. Not that I had a particularly overwhelming breakthrough moment there — I mean, at 14 there’s not much to have a catharsis about, unless your name is Harry Potter. Either way, though, it was one of the first trips I took without my parents that I just really enjoyed. It’s a very old, very historical, beautiful little town, and I just wouldn’t even know what kind of story would fit.
- Inside the human body/psyche
Let me clarify just a bit. I’m not talking about the heart versus lungs, or white and red blood cells. I’m talking about more of a metaphysical level. This would take a lot of planning and thinking to execute properly, but I’m fascinated by evolutionary psychology. Essentially, it’s a bunch of theories that explain how people developed since our creation to act the way they do now. We act the way we do for one goal: reproduction and survival of our genes. Only, nowadays, the focus on people is most certainly not focused on reproduction. I have a few ideas I’m playing around with in this area, but I think it’d be great if our genes made themselves self aware, or one of the types of bacteria we need to survive became self aware. Again, I’m not sure where this could go, but it’s interesting to think about.
- An enclosed, old school college campus
Seeing as I’m living in one right now, I do get some good ideas. Especially because of the particular campus I’m on — it has a checkered recent history, and a huge network of graduates. However, if I were to use a college campus as a setting, I would make up a fictional one. Places like Oxford and Cambridge have always sounded fascinating, and I’d want to centralize the story around a historically rich one, like them. But with a different name.
- An Island
Again, not too original. This one is based off of a trip I took to Fiji, which ended up being more cathartic than the trips to Harper’s Ferry. A lot can happen on a little island. And if I ever get around to it, I’ll post a videos of a dive I took with enormous manta rays.
- A fairytale-esque world
I’m pretty bad at coming up with anything interesting in a fairy tale land. The whole king/queen/knight/whatever thing is just so overdone that I feel like I couldn’t come up with anything different and compelling. Some people do! Look at George R. R. Martin. Although, he really makes that fantasy land more for adults than children.
- Stone cottages
There’s just some part of me that absolutely adores cottages and houses made up of stone. So I throw them into my stories if I can fit one in logically.
So, there you have it. These are the places that I’d write about if I had the characters and storyline to go along with them. Feel free to let me know what places affect and stick with you in your writing!