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09 April 2013 @ 09:01 pm
A Question  
I have a question for my fellow writers: when your characters enter a location that's not established (a place you've seen in a show or film) do you create the location, or is the location already there when they arrive?

Because when I'm world-building, the location is there and I don't have to think about what it looks like because it looks like what it is. In other words, with something like Molly's flat, I don't go 'and I'll put the couch here and the TV here', it's already there when I picture it. Even with somewhere like a hospital room, which my characters are in a lot, in each case it's a different layout without my consciously making it so. I also find it really hard, because the locations are so fixed, to move something around that's not working for a scene. For example, if my characters need to move to the left to make the scene work but I've got in my mind that that object is on the right, I get very distressed at having to move it. Even if I haven't written anything about where it is.

So, how do you build worlds?

Somewhat related to this:

I think this is my favourite room I've made so far. The library at the Holmes Ancestral Home. Though I still need to figure out how the lights work. The glare on the door is annoying.
donutsweeperdonutsweeper on April 10th, 2013 02:00 am (UTC)
I'm terrible and don't plan out anything. I should, and I know I should, but I just don't.
aelfgyfu_mead: Primevalaelfgyfu_mead on April 11th, 2013 01:07 am (UTC)
I think I do some of the same thing. I notice it more when I'm reading, actually—when I mentally have things or, more often, people arranged a certain way and then have to change it because a detail comes up that makes it clear I've got things wrong (Sherlock wouldn't be taking John's pulse from his left wrist if he were on John's right, ugh! Or I thought Mycroft was on the other side of that chair, so how did Sherlock get in his face so fast? Argh!)

I usually don't have to think too hard about how things look when I'm creating them.

What gives me trouble are sets where I can see part and can't work out the rest! Sherlock does seem to have a bathroom attached to his room, but we don't see that until s2, so I spent s1 wondering where the heck the bathroom was. (I have a toilet obsession. Have to know where it is just in case I need it, you know?) Then I've spent the time since wondering how on earth that bathroom could fit there! In fact, you gave me this link, but that's a flat plan that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I have a bit of a draft Sherlock fic, but mostly I don't have to deal with it too much because I don't write fic for that fandom (though I read oodles of it). No, it was Primeval that gave me the worst trouble. Stephen's flat? It really, really doesn't make sense.
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on April 13th, 2013 12:12 am (UTC)
I think that happens to a lot of people when they're reading. I know it happens with characters, too. I have very strong images of characters and then their hair colour gets mentioned and I have to rearrange my whole portrait of them.

I've been looking at a lot of London housing lately, for stories, and there are a lot of places that have 'void' areas. They are mostly houses converted to flats, where new walls were built and areas become closed off. I suppose 221 could work if there were some void areas in it. Otherwise it is a non-rectangular flat in a rectangular building.

aelfgyfu_meadaelfgyfu_mead on April 13th, 2013 12:26 am (UTC)
I didn't know that about void spaces. I suppose 221 is old enough to have been converted like that--surely Speedy's wasn't always there!

Do you watch White Collar? Sometime in the third season, I think it was, when we thought we all knew the layout of Neal's little apartment, it suddenly developed that there was this huge area we'd never seen before. It was so unexpected that I just started laughing. copperbadge memorably wrote (here), under Sam's Three Things:
2. Neal's bathroom is not a bathroom, it's a WHOLE NOTHER HALF OF HIS APARTMENT. (Sorry, I am obsessed with his apartment, because for a while there he had an invisible bathroom.) Apparently, the most common recurring dream among New Yorkers involves opening a closet door and finding a whole new suite of rooms. With Neal, this is actually the case. I bet his wardrobe has a secret entrance to Narnia at the back.

Bear in mind that I have an obsession with figuring out where the bathrooms are in fictional places, so I had also been watching WC very carefully to find the bathroom!
The Writer They Call Tay: DH: Random Happenstanceawanderingbard on April 13th, 2013 12:44 am (UTC)
I don't watch White Collar, but that is awesome!

I get really anal about people living in places that don't suit them--too clean or too modern or too big. One thing I love about 221b on Sherlock is how messy it is all the time. I like that they've thought about how it would really look and not gone the TV route of having it look like everyone has a personal maid.
The other Weird Al: Old House by Anne Sudworthaeron_lanart on April 12th, 2013 02:06 am (UTC)
Places that don't exist in the canon in which I'm writing don't cause me problems as everything is just *there* when characters walk in and if they want to move the furniture round, they do.

Places that exist literally but not visually are the same (e.g.McAnally's in the Dresden Files doesn't cause any problems, it's so well described in the books).

Something that exists on the telly can be a minefield. I've watched and screen capped Dresden Files and Sherlock til the cows came home just to get the layouts straight in my head and even then I've taken liberties (I refuse to believe that the teeny-tiny en-suite thing next to Sherlock's room is the only bathroom at Baker Street, I bet there's a decent sized one upstairs next to John's room, with a huge claw-foot bath).

I am considering building 221 (a, b and c) Baker Street in Sims 2 at some point, just because. Usually I build castles, so it would be a challenge to do something different but I think a game reinstall might be required first.
The Writer They Call Tay: Dresden: Harry confusedawanderingbard on April 13th, 2013 12:07 am (UTC)
I had a helluva time with Harry's flat on the show, too. I somehow managed to convince myself there was a second floor and not just a loft, and one of my stories no longer makes any sort of sense unless Harry did some serious renovations at one point.

And for a while I had the impression that the flight of stairs went directly up to 221b, instead of hitting a landing and turning around, so I had all the rooms swapped in terms of front/back in my head.

A few people have attempted to make sense of 221b. I gave someone some links here. It still requires a TARDIS to actually exist in the space in occupies, in my opinion. Especially if Sherlock's walk-in-wardrobe actually exists, as I read someone.

I am in definite agreement that John has a bathroom on his floor. Otherwise, he's got too much space there for just his bedroom. There has to be another room there, especially given the relative size of British bedrooms. I've been looking for flats for characters, so I know how tiny things are in London.