Setting a Story in a Foreign Place

I’ve read plenty of books by plenty of authors. My typical experience is that most authors will set their stories in a single place. And occasionally branch out from there. But other times I’ll come across an author who sets stories in many different cities that are nothing alike. And my thought is they’re either a world traveler or they are great at research. It’s usually a mix of both.

For example, Michael Connelly set one of his Bosch stories (in part) in Japan. But as he was in the process of writing it he took a trip there and stayed for three weeks taking everything in. And also writing, of course. Suffice it to say that I don’t have that kind of money to be able to do that.

But I realized something recently. My second story was set in a different city I’d only visited once or twice. And as soon as I reached the point in the story in which Andrew had to make the trip I stopped writing. So I’m really thinking that my story didn’t work out because I didn’t know enough about the city to continue. I’d planned a short trip just to walk around and take in as much as I possibly could, but that never happened. For now and into the future I’ll just stick to the one city I know.

What about you? Have you ever set one of your stories in a city you didn’t know well?

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