setting / writers resources / writers tips

Writer’s Tip #47: Authenticate Setting

writers resourcesWhen you read your story, does it sound off, maybe you can’t quite put your finger on it, but you know you’ve done something wrong? Sometimes–maybe even lots of times–there are simple fixes. These writer’s tips will come at you once a week, giving you plenty of time to go through your story and make the adjustments.

Today’s tip: Authenticate setting with Google Street View

I was chatting with my friends over at Crimespace, the Ning for Crime writers a few months ago, and it came to my attention that some of them hadn’t discovered Google Street View. This Google Earth device has become one of my strongest tools for enriching scenes, adding fascinating detail about my novel’s setting and authenticating the areas to which my characters travel. I hate that someone will read my novel–where I’ve had my character stop at a Starbuck’s on the way to work–and grouse that there is no Starbuck’s there and where’s my fact-checking. Has that ever happened to you? So, I never add those details without checking Google Street View.

I put together this screen shot How-to on using Street View. Maybe it’ll help some of you, too:

street view

street view

street view

Google Street View has more locations every month. They even cover hiking trails, now. Go find your house. What do you think?

–Click to have Writer’s Tips delivered to your email.

Update: These directions have been updated. Visit my July 10th, 2012 posting.


5 thoughts on “Writer’s Tip #47: Authenticate Setting

  1. Pingback: Writer’s Tip #76: Use a Photo to Develop Characters, Setting | WordDreams...

  2. Hi, Jacqui! Yes, this is a great tool, and setting authentication is super important. One of the comments underlying my recent endorsement from Carolyn Sapp, Miss America 1992 and a hometown girl in Kettle Falls, WA–a primary setting in Separation of Faith–was that the setting was so authentic. And if readers ever go there to visit (which I highly recommend since it’s so beautiful and a national recreation area), they’ll have a strong sense of familiarity.

    Great post, Jacqui, and a really important point! Thanks! –Cheri


      • And you do a great job of keeping those valuable writng tips coming! Hopefully there will be a bunch of helpful stuff for me to share as well from the Writer’s Digest Writer’s Conference in New York beginning this Friday where I’ll be blogging directly from the sessions. I’m starting to get excited!


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