By Keith N Fisher
Over the years, I’ve written about some of the places I’ve written while sitting behind the wheel of my vehicle. I talked about waiting for a sunrise on the roof of a parking garage. I’ve talked about writing in the parking lot, waiting for a coffee shop to open. What can I say? I get inspiration while propping my laptop between my chest and the steering wheel.
I’ve noticed my surroundings, sometimes, get written into the story, too. Once, I wrote a snowstorm into a scene, while watching it through windshield wipers. I can describe buildings and people while watching them in the comfort of my vehicle and it helps to have a first hand perspective.
I sat in a coffee shop once, watching two young lovers meet, greet, and interact. I opened a new document and wrote it as I saw it. I’ve used pieces of that scene in many of my books since. I’ve re-watched videos and written scenes from the inspiration. No, I’m not stealing scenes. I’m expanding other people’s work and making it better.
For a while now, since I work at night, I’ve had the pleasure of giving my daughter a ride home from school. I get up early, drive to the school, and write while waiting for the bell to ring. People come and go, cars are on display, humanity parades in front of me. Sometimes I’m too caught up in my story to notice, but other times I watch my new character walk past and get into a car.
I get several pages written while waiting, but I’ve got a complaint. There are many visitors parking spaces, why do they let students park their cars in them? Often, lately, I have to park on the outskirts of the lot, write for a while then drive over to pick up my daughter as she comes out of the building.
When I think of places to write and the advantages of observation with each, I think of reporters of the past. Have you ever listened to the narration of the Hindenburg disaster? That man was eyewitness to the horror, and he had the presence of mind to talk about it. Can you imagine a reporter with a laptop, covering Custer’s last stand? Can you see the benefit of writing in place?
If you are writing a mystery set in an old Victorian house, perhaps you could take your laptop and write it there. I write a lot of restaurant scenes because I write in restaurants and coffee shops.
I know, there are times when you can’t write in place. I passed an old house in a farmer’s field while traveling to Canada once. I had to stop and check it out because it was the house my characters were remodeling in my book. I couldn’t delay the family trip while I wrote, so I took several pictures. Later I used them to describe the house.
Take notes, live with your eyes open. Most importantly, write with your eyes open. Listen to your senses, and write it down.
Good luck with your writing—see you next week.