3 Reasons Why Using Real-World Locations Can Improve Your Writing

We always hear about how many famous movies, video games, comics, and other fictional worlds were based on or inspired by real-world locations. We have Panem from the Hunger Games that resembles Ancient Rome; there is also the game, Dark Souls, where one of the locations in the game was heavily inspired by a cathedral in Milan; also, fans of  DC Comics know that Gotham City is an exaggerated replica of New York. 


What do these fictional worlds have in common? They can be enjoyed visually by the audience- no extra effort needed; which is easier and convenient for creators as well. How about written literature? Is it more worth it to write about a world or a space that you have to imagine from scratch? Let’s dive more into these questions in this article. 


Imagination is the most powerful weapon of a writer, but is it better to imagine a world that does not exist? As a writer, one must already be aware of the fact that “there is no such thing as an original idea ”. Whatever idea or concept we have come up with is always inspired by other events that we have experienced in life. Hence, it is better, as a writer to use real-world locations to write your story, and here are the reasons why:


1. It Can Help With Finer Details: Adjectives, Accessories, Mood


You can be writing about two people having a conversation over a dinner- a perfectly normal scene- and using a real life dining hall to imagine the scene would make your writing better. This is possible because it can give you a more in depth writing; you can have more precise adjectives to describe a scene and what is present at the scene. 


It could be a chandelier or a straw mat or a cafeteria table- these could help you as a writer to describe your character in a more subtle way. If you choose a bigger space to imagine a location, like a country or outer space- it will give you a better picture on the setting and what will and can happen in such places, since weather/seasons, buildings, the people, and political situations plays a big role in deciding a characters’ background. You can alway study more about different countries here. This allows you to describe the setting and leave room for readers to imagine  instead of telling readers the name of the setting straight without any depth.


2. It Helps With Imagining Possible Scenes.

As mentioned above, if you based your writing on real-world locations, it can help with what can and will happen. This leads to my second point where possible scenes can be born just by imagining a real setting. 


For example, let’s imagine your own bedroom as a setting for your writing. Your bedroom has a glass window on one side, a single bed on the opposite side and a table full of stationeries. You wish to write an action scene of a school boy being attacked by a killer and you use your bedroom as a reference, with this you can already see what the school boy can use as a weapon and how the boy plans to escape; maybe the pair of scissors on the table will be his weapon and he will crash into his glass wall to escape the room. The writing of the action scene will flow naturally as you imagine the scene happening in your own bedroom, you can even imagine different scenes as alternatives. This leads to my next point:


3. Making An Action More Natural 

Your story and fictional world can be entirely made up, it could be a different planet with different moral values than what we have on earth- but you can still base it on a real location, or several locations at the same time. 

This could be what you were going for: a small country on a moon-sized planet, with only one season- winter, and with monarchy in full swing. You can base the setting on different countries- for example: Use Brunei’s Monarchy system as a reference and based the living conditions and weather on a city in Switzerland. 


You can even add a variety of countries and cultures as reference for history, food, music,architecture, language and even fashion and clothes. This will allow you room to study the situations in these places to create actions that are possible for the characters. One simply cannot have a Sultan riding the latest sports car in place where it snows all year round! Maybe he can have a royal snowmobile instead.


When writing a scene in a more specific or small setting, it is also important to have a specific space in mind. This is so that you can gauge the amount of actions possible in the space- which makes it easier for writers to not make careless mistakes. 

Let’s take the previous scene as an example- the boy and the killer.  If you already describe the room to be too small and it only fits a single bed, it would be impossible for the boy to make a enough impact to run and crash through a glass wall- if you as a writer make it happen anyway, it would make the scene sound awkward.

Hence, by imagining an existing space, the writer can make up actions that are suitable and possible in that amount of space available.


Learn More About Languages and Cultures

To study about a place, it is better to visit and experience it first hand. However, even without the pandemic it is not easy to travel to multiple countries to learn more about their cultures and languages- especially when monetary problems are always hard to solve. But don’t worry! We have the best solution for you- Ling App

Ling App by Simya Solutions is an app dedicated for people who wish to learn languages for FREE. You can expand your vocabulary and learn grammar in 60+ languages by going through tasks and quizzes available in the app. Ling App also shares blog posts on tips, guides, facts and many more on all these different countries. This allows you to learn your chosen language at your own pace and helps you increase your knowledge to build your own fictional world within your own budget. Local slang, speak like a native, writing system, flag history– you name it, we have it all! All the best on your writing! 

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