Where do writers get their inspirations for where a story will be set, be it an epic novel or microflash? It’s easiest to set it in the writer’s own backyard: New Yorkers tend to write about the Big Apple, Texans might opt for the Alamo. I must admit to doing this sometimes–I’ve written several short stories set in Colorado (“Walking with Great Uncle,” “Along Sand Creek,” and Gho). But I like variety and I rather deliberately seek out different locales, often from my business travels (yet another reason not to quit my day job (shameless plug, at Zebulon Solutions, a really cool product development company).
The setting for my published short story, “Queen Méabh,” was based on a trip I took to Ireland with one of my daughters a few years back, where we spent virtually the entire trip searching out five-millennia-old passage tombs. I’m working on an expanded version, tentatively titled “The Queens of Ireland” and also have a couple more short stories set in Ireland in the works.
I set “How a Valkyrie Flies” in Australia while I was commuting back and forth to Sydney;
And Ragnarök Willie, my other great-but-not-yet-really-finished novel is set in Sweden where I lived and worked for a couple of years. I just returned from a trip to Scandinavia, fresh with even more ideas about stories with valkyries and frost giants.
Of course physical presence is not required, else I, nor countless other Sci Fi authors ranging from Arthur C. Clarke to Robert Heinlein, Andy Weir to Kim Stanley Robinson, could write about Mars (see “Three-Quarters Martian” for my modest entry into that illustrious club.
For more inspirations for story settings, see my Pinterest board on the subject.