Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Different Kind of Worldbuilding

I'm reading about Anna's adventures in Paris, and what what I love this book so much (no overhyping, must not overhype before I get to the end). This book appeals to all of my secret or not-so-secret girly girl tendencies. Plus ... PARIS. I have a sneaking suspicion that Stephanie Perkins of the Blue Hair is actually a genius. Because what kind of girly girl doesn't want to read a book set in PARIS? Do I romanticize places I have never been to? You bet your bottom dollar I do. Plus, Etienne is an American with a British accent who speaks French? Really, Blue Hair? Please find a more pleasing combination of nationalities; really, I think you're slacking. Try harder.

I need to finish this book, like ASAP, before I ruin any reason to write a review.

But all of this talk of exotic places (aka Europe) is making me wonder about worldbuilding. Not the fantastical kind of worldbuilding, because that's fun and easy. What the hey, I am going to throw a dinosaur-and-lollipop-themed restaurant here because I'm the Creator and I want to. Bam. No, I'm talking about creating a setting that already exists. Like Paris. Did you know that Stephanie Perkins had never actually stepped foot in France before writing ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS? However, she is so good at writing Paris that it's almost unfair.

Guess where I'm not right now? Here. Paris. I'm not here. Sadface.

Okay, so apparently, it is fair, because she did epic amounts of research for months on end, reading up on French history and architecture and basically anything and everything French Can you tell I have done a thorough job of stalking her blog?. Her work shows.

In the meantime, THE FOREVER CITY is set in Washington D.C. I have been there before. But I'm no native. I don't know where anything is, not without a map. Outside of the main city, I am totally clueless. So how important is it that I go all gung-ho and make my portrayal of D.C. convincing? Do I have to research like Stephanie Perkins? I don't think I have her work ethic. Is it okay if I just make up random places, or do I have to place the Wal-Mart on the right street? I have this semi-irrational fear that people will read what I write and be like, WHAT ARE YOU DOING, THIS IS NOT RIGHT, YOU FRAUD. And okay. D.C. is in the United States and Paris is French, so it obviously is much more different than your average American city.

What do you think? Have you ever written a story set in a real place that you've never been to before?

Guess what? I'm also not here. Moar sadface.

THIS SONG MAKES ME HAPPY. Besides the grammatical error in the title.


  1. All. The. Time. You can get an awesome google satellite view of the Parthenon, you know. ;)

    I do research a lot and watch plenty of travel channel. If it makes you feel better, I have been to Paris. When I was two years old.

    I'll have to go back some time.

    Fun post!

  2. I LOVED Anna and the French Kiss soooooo much! Ettiene is perfection <3

    Also, I happen to live pretty much outside DC (when I'm not at college) and might be living IN it this summer, so if you've got any questions let me know!