Writing Place

I’m in Nashville today for the Southern Festival of Books, a city I’ve never visited before, a trip I’m taking alone. These last two factors are crucial because, since I know no one here, they force a species of crucial writerly research: where am I going to drink? Or, at very least, where am I going to have dinner?

You know when you are reading a story that’s well anchored in a location because the city (or village, or planet or whatever) feels real in its details, and those details are not wheeled out like an encyclopedia entry but scattered knowingly about like crumbs by the author with apparently careless abandon. It may be research, but it doesn’t feel like research. It feels like the author has lived there all his/her life or—depending on the narrative point of view—that the character has.

This is tough to fake, and it’s one […]

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