Tech Tips for Writers is an (almost) weekly post on overcoming Tech Dread. I’ll cover issues that friends, both real-time and virtual, have shared. Feel free to post a comment about a question you have. I’ll cover it in a future Tip.
Q: I can’t find enough detail about a particular area of the world my character visits. Any suggestions?
A: Try Google Street View. It’s a wonderful way to explore settings for your writing Here’s how to use it:
- First, you must have Google Earth. It’s a free download and I’ve never had problems with the install. Take a minute to do that. I’ll wait.
- Done? Good. That was fast. Here’s what you do next:
When I went to visit the house my character was living in, I found out I had to rework several important pieces of the story. I had her walking to work, not realizing how crowded both streets and sidewalks were with traffic. She’d have to be a bit more careful with the cup of coffee, briefcase, and bowl of oatmeal she was juggling as she traveled. And, where I had her passing generic-sorts of stores (Starbucks, local grocery), umm, there were problems. The ones I mentioned weren’t there, and I’d failed to mention a few eclectic ethnic stores that could provide the essential detail that makes a setting come to life.
A note: Google Street View even covers hiking trails.
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Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-sixth grade, creator of two technology training books for middle school and four ebooks on technology in education. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blog, IMS tech expert, and a bi-weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s editing a thriller for her agent that should be out to publishers this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.