“They” Once Stood On This Spot

I wrote back in February that a visit to Chesham, just outside of London, made such an impression on me that I decided it would be a good setting for part of Conventions. Bath is so well-known, I’d thought – especially in 18th century terms – I’d use somewhere “lesser known” to many readers. That pleasant town really does fit the bill.

Parish church, Chesham, England. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Parish church, Chesham, England. [Photo by me, 2016.]

We know for most of history traveling was not nearly as easy as now. Fiction has also always been around. Clearly given how difficult and expensive travel once was, many authors never got anywhere near the places they wrote about and neither had probably most of their readers.

Times have changed, of course.

Today we write for a potentially global audience. We have to be aware of that. Personal experience with somewhere real certainly helps in better describing and placing it within a fictional tale.

Walking a country lane (two way auto traffic), Wiltshire, England. [Photo by me, 2015.]
Walking a country lane. (This takes two-way auto traffic.) Wiltshire, England. [Photo by me, 2015.]

With Conventions I’m on some “new” ground literally. I have a good idea of what “it” is like, and I’ve done lots of research about “it.” And I’ve been to other places like “it.”

In this case, “it” is only one buildinga chateau in northern France. It’s not especially well-known outside of the country. And I’ve discovered it is open to the public.

Michelin paper road atlas, France. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Michelin paper road atlas, France. [Photo by me, 2016.]

I’m still not sure if it’s absolutely necessary, but I have been wondering if a road trip may be called for. Naturally, none of us today can visit “the distant past.” In writing fiction, though, even if we can’t see something as it was in “1791,” it may be worthwhile seeing it at least in our 2016. 🙂

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Author: “Conventions: The Garden At Paris,” “Passports,” “Frontiers,” and “Distances.” British Airways frequent flier. Lover of the Catskill Mountains...and the 1700s. New novel of 1797-1805, "Tomorrow The Grace," due out in 2019.