“Radio Silence” would make a good band name.

I had a very strange dream this morning; strange and disturbing all at once. In it, I was either a detective, an assistant, or merely an observer for an autopsy. Before the person performing the autopsy could get very far, I began feeling sick and told them “I can’t do this”. Instead of throwing up, however, I sort of half-coughed up a huge wad of rubbery grey…stuff. Half, in this case, being literal — I couldn’t get it out. Not even pulling on it helped, because it just stretched and broke.

I woke up in a state of panic, only to discover that I wasn’t actually choking on anything and that I was physically okay.

I don’t need anyone to interpret the dream, nor do I need to look it up in any dictionary: I know exactly what it represents. (Well, most of it; I’m not sure about the autopsy part, but as I occasionally dream that I am other people, it may have merely been my subconscious giving me a reason to start retching. I’m pretty sure that I could handle observing an autopsy, for the most part.)

I haven’t been able to write much, lately, to the point that I’ve had to give up on my story for the Love Is Always Write event. I feel choked, stifled, and maybe even a little panicky about the first two things — and my brain was simply confirming what I already know.

This may be my last post here for a while, too. I won’t wander away forever, and you can always contact me via email – cwright.writes at gmail.com, and don’t forget the period – but for now, I need to be quiet.

It doesn’t hurt to use a search engine, I promise.

Come over here. Yes, you. Sit down right here beside me–we need to talk.

Look, I know you’re excited about writing a story set in a place you love, but have never been to. I understand, I do. Now, sweetness, it’s really really important to remember that there are people who live in the place you’ve chosen for your story’s setting, and that, particularly in the US, it’s likely they’ll have a chance to read it.

You see where I’m going with this, don’t you? Sh, no, just let me have my say, please. When you pick a particular location, you need to look up some fundamental basics. Check out the weather patterns, for instance, and look at the average temperatures for various times of the year. I’ve never been to New Orleans (argh argh argh), but I know that they don’t get hurricanes year-round. Kansas is not all corn fields and tornadoes 24/7/365. There are more cities in North Dakota than Pierre and Minot. Not everyone in Minnesota is decended from Scandanavian stock, eats hotdish, or is Lutheran (or all three at once).

If you can’t go to your chosen location for whatever reason–financial, familial, etc–then for the love of all that is seen and unseen GO TO THE LIBRARY. Use Google or whatever your search engine of choice is. Check out guidebooks, check out blogs from people living in the area (even if you do have to wade through the unpredictable results of machine translation), ask the people you know if they know anyone in [Wherever]. I personally know a guy who knows people in Finland, plus I know there’s a Finn on one of my mailing lists. If I want the lowdown on living on a farm just below the Arctic circle, I can ask them if they either know anything about it or know someone who does.

Please. It doesn’t take all that long — and if you’re like me and tend to get sidetracked, set aside a couple of hours one weekend and just get lost. Make notes and bookmarks, or copies, or whatever! It doesn’t matter if you ever use all of the information, but at least do your readers the courtesy of actually making the attempt.

Thanks for listening,

love,

A fan of Street View for finding neat-looking places