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From: gt350ed12/31/00 1:58 AM 
To: All  (1 of 14) 
 1194.1 
I'm in California. I've selected a specific area/region in New Zealand for a setting in the beginning of my book. It's not likely that I will get there to do research. How do I best accurately describe the setting without having seen it firsthand?
 
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From: AJR712/31/00 9:37 AM 
To: gt350ed  (2 of 14) 
 1194.2 in reply to 1194.1 
Try travel guides. The INSIGHT GUIDES are especially good to gain the "feel" of an area. In addition to excellent descriptions of the geography/culture/history, they are full of glossy photographs. You can describe settings right off the photos. I'm sure there is one on New Zealand. Also comb back issues of upscale travel magazines (Conde Nast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler). Issues feature particular places.
 

 
From: gt350ed12/31/00 11:23 PM 
To: AJR7  (3 of 14) 
 1194.3 in reply to 1194.2 
Thank you. To some extent, I've started in that direction using maps, atlases, etc. I will take your advice.
 

 
From: ace0hearts1/2/01 2:24 PM 
To: gt350ed  (4 of 14) 
 1194.4 in reply to 1194.3 
There's also the online travel guides, I know fodors has a pretty good one, and you can find out, if you are in a city at least, all the local sites.
 

 
From: AJR71/2/01 5:27 PM 
To: ace0hearts  (5 of 14) 
 1194.5 in reply to 1194.4 
Online guides--good suggestion. I guess I still do things the old fashioned way--off the shelf. The nice thing about the INSIGHT GUIDES are their lavish photographs (along with cultural and historical narratives)--especially useful if you want to get the "feel" of an area. I had a need for a small-city Colorado setting. In the INSIGHT's Rockies Guide, I not only found the road to "the place" where most of my action occurs and could therefore describe right from the photo (including the state of the sky), but I also found the shot of a Victorian silver mining era hotel in the section on Durango that became a major setting. In fact, Durango became the model for my town of Big Meadow. A key sequence takes place aboard a narrow-gauge excursion railroad whose description also came from the guide. I also mocked up Big Meadow's history using the Durango area narrative and was therefore able to tell how the ghost town where my bad guys hang out came into being.
 

 
From: Mary'sSong (James255)1/12/01 1:07 AM 
To: gt350ed  (6 of 14) 
 1194.6 in reply to 1194.1 
Find people who live there and talk to them. Short of visiting, it's the only accurate way I've found to get the setting right.
 

 
From: gt350ed1/13/01 12:25 AM 
To: Mary'sSong (James255) unread  (7 of 14) 
 1194.7 in reply to 1194.6 
Thanks.I've concluded that that is what I will have to do. As luck would have it, one of my associates has a relative within 50 miles.
 

 
From: Clydfin1/21/01 10:22 AM 
To: gt350ed  (8 of 14) 
 1194.8 in reply to 1194.1 
Whereabouts in NZ? I spent nearly 20 years there once and know parts of it well. The scenery, mentality of the people etc. (although that has been changing in the meantime.) Reading novels based in New Zealand would also help. Let me know.


Edited 1/22/2001 10:23:06 AM ET by CLYDFIN
 

 
From: gt350ed1/23/01 1:45 AM 
To: Clydfin  (9 of 14) 
 1194.9 in reply to 1194.8 
Thanks for the response. I'm interested in the Blenheim/Wairau/Waihopai area of South Island. This is a tech thriller involving the tracking station at Waihopai. I've come across a few pictures depicting the area, as well as some knowledge that it is a wine area among other things. Seems quite beautiful, what with valleys and foothills and mountains.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

 

 
From: Clydfin1/25/01 9:48 AM 
To: gt350ed  (10 of 14) 
 1194.10 in reply to 1194.9 
A quick reply: I do not know the area, apart from having passed through it. But I'll get back to you later on this with a longer message. The scenery is very similar to elsewhere in the South Island (always with a "the"). The North Island is different.

 

 
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