Do you know where you are? Do you know how to get to the nearest store for shoes? How about the best deal for fresh produce? I’ve lived in Southern California all of my life and in my current city for 20 some years. I know which roads will work well for travel at certain times of the day.
This weekend I went on a couple road trips to close-by places that I don’t usually go to. I knew where I was going, and knew when I got lost. I take my dog for walks around my neighborhood, and I know which houses are well kept, which ones are a mess, and the one that’s totally trashed and being redone, probably so it can go on the market.
These are all things your characters should know, unless they are far from home and just got there. People like to know where they are in relation to other things. You want to know where food and water can be found. You like to have a few sweets now and then, and you like to be entertained. No wonder one of the first phrases I learned in Spanish was Where is the library?
My characters in Regency Banquet: Entree – Pure Captivation are racing across Belgium to the English Channel, trying to avoid both English and French troops. English because Roland Curtis is out of uniform, and French because Princess Maryse would be taken back to Paris and executed. They don’t know where they are from memory, because this is their first journey through there. But Roland has a map and a growing attachment to Maryse’s beautiful head. He’s determined to get them out of the country and to his home safely. With or without her family, who seem to have wandered off.
My characters in Dust Devils, a future adventure on a dusty planet, know where they are exactly. One of them is studying the native fauna and the other is building pods where he can grow food to sell to the megacorporation that owns the planet. When they are kidnapped and taken off planet to a space station, Betts has no idea where she is and why these people want her to get pregnant by Nick. He, on the other hand, knows exactly where they are, exactly why, and where to get water. He’s been on his dad’s station before. But to get away, he needs to call his mom. I hope I get back to that story some day, just going to take a year or two of world building.
Consider your characters and see if you can plot a course from where they are now to a grocery store or farmer’s market. Think of it as a writing prompt that will help round out your characters. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.