Guest Blogger John Gurney: Setting a Scene…Without Being There—Part 1

Heather Z. Hutchins kindly asked me to post a guest blog on her excellent site that focuses on fiction writing. Here is the link to part 1.


Vacation!  Writing a novel is a great excuse for travel.  “Honey, we need to check out the beaches of Fiji for my book’s frolicking sex scene!”

Those of limited means face a conundrum.  If sci-fi or fantasy is your genre, sip a strong Starbucks and travel via imagination.  But if your novel is ‘realistic’, your first choice is to set scenes in places you know.  My novel, the nearly complete Eloisa, is challenging, since she’s a Mexican pop star.  It’s no coincidence we follow Eloisa’s U.S. concert tour through Chicago, San Antonio and Tucson, all places I know.

Mucho Mexican-themed literature features the immigrant experience and “cultura de la frontera” (border culture).  In Eloisa, I avoid L.A. barrios and Tijuana like the swine flu.  Think off-beat Mexico City and provincial Michoacán.  Part of my novel’s humor is the interplay of protagonist Jim, an American corporate CFO, and Eloisa.  Different…

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