When I'm writing, location tends to be a big factor to me. I've started writing two novels within the past two years, and both took place near the area I live. The first novel I wrote I put on the shelf a few months back, but I hope to get back to it one day. I was inspired by walking past a rather creepy looking abandoned building on an otherwise gentrified street in Washington, DC. I stood in front of the building for a few minutes and I had to pull out a piece of paper to write down all the ideas that were coming to me.
For my current story, the first third of the story takes place in a fictional town in rural Virginia. While the town is fictional, I've located it about twenty-five minutes south of where I currently live in Fredericksburg, Virginia. I moved here because my husband grew up in this area, and I really enjoy living here. If you love old buildings, antiques and Civil War battlegrounds, Fredericksburg is for you.
Since I commute (for the next two weeks at least) from our home in Fredericksburg to Washington, DC, a large part of the action takes place outside of the city. One of the most pivotal points in the story takes place at the Franconia-Springfield metro station.
The station is the final stop on the blue line, and it is a major hub of activity, as buses, cars and trains all converge here. My commuter train stops at this metro stop every day, and one day we were sitting there waiting on some kind of delay to clear up, and the idea for the piviotal part of the story came to me. Without getting to much into detail, my characters find themselves on a journey from rural Virginia to Washington, DC. I thought the Franconia-Springfield station would be an apt place for the action to switch into high gear, because for me at least, it's where the city begins. You can reach downtown DC by metro in about forty minutes from this station, so I thought it would be a more interesting place to set the action versus a more predictable choice of downtown DC.
I have set stories all over the world, it just happens that these last two novels have taken place locally. When you're writing, is location a key factor? Is your location as important as character or plot, or merely a back-drop to the action?