Creating the perfect names for my characters and pinpointing the location for my story is hard work. I don’t know if it’s because I’m quite an indecisive person, but I’ve spent an extremely long time trying to make the correct decisions.
I’ve changed the names of my main two characters more times than I can count. And I’ve still not decided on the actual location of where the story will be based.
But is there such a thing as correct decisions when it comes to writing fiction?
Geographically speaking, I could choose to set my story here in London, or somewhere I’ve never even visited.
I could totally even make up a whole new place and act like it’s been here on Earth all this time. Or not even specifically name the location. So many writers have done these and it seems to work.
I think the key to writing a convincing and vivid setting is this: RESEARCH. If the location is a real place, go visit, take photos and note down small details that you notice that you normally may not pay attention to. If visiting isn’t a realistic option, watch documentaries and take a look at photographs or books. If the location is made up, draw maps, sketch certain places where important events take place. Basically, familiarise yourself with the setting you’ve created so that the descriptions can flow freely instead of being imposed.
In regards to characters, I believe it’s important to choose names with meaning, that suit their individual stories and still sound cool. The name needs to fit the person. I’ve even checked and double-checked origins of surnames to be ethnically accurate.
I’ve had times that I thought I’m overthinking these little details and I questioned if they will even have a big impact on the story… But being an avid reader myself, I know how important details like these are. It helps set the tone and build a connection between the reader and the world within the book. Paying attention to these details is the difference between a memorable story and just any other book off the shelf.