I participated in an on-line workshop last week to learn the process to create Funky Little Cityscapes. (To learn more about the workshop, go to SweetRepeats Blog) The painting above is was my first creation. I’m going to paint another, but this time I’m planning to put some thought into what structures the city needs…. grocery, post office , church, school, playground, etc. I think all those details will help me.
As I was creating this one, I started thinking about how we go about developing a city for a novel. When you use a real city for your setting, it just takes a bit of research to make sure you know distances between locations, exactly where the murder will take place, where the hero will start looking for the criminal, etc. It’s important to know all the details. Those readers from that real town will certainly call you on the carpet if you get something wrong.
When you use a fictional town, it’s up to you to supply all those details. It might be good to draw a map as you create your city and place the names of each location right on the streets you’ve drawn. That way as you move along in the writing of your story, you can just refer to your map, rather than to have to search back in the story to find where you placed the pharmacy or the library, etc.
When creating a town, think in terms of the idiosyncracies of it. Make sure you put in enough novelty locations to give it a feel of its own. And be sure to describe the look and the feel of it enough that the reader will begin to settle in and feel at home.
Home Sweet Home can be just that if you take time to create the town that will work best for your story.