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No word counts this week; the goal is to finish the first chapter any way it gets done, and whatever length it turns out to be.

So far, my struggles with belting out this chapter have reinforced that you're only as good as the limits of your imagination. My first attempt to start the chapter was plodding and dull, because the situation I had my characters in was very professional and proscribed, the kind of context I know well, even if it's not my own profession(s) I was describing.

But according to the research I had done, this was the most likely scenario that would put my characters in the otherwise off-limits setting they were in. Still, it was boring.

And it wasn't getting across the kind of person my main character is. So, back to the research drawing board. I learned more about the illegal and potentially dangerous motivations that can send people into the setting of my first chapter, and decided to rewrite what I had so far with my main character doing something illegal. This worked out much better.

But that only got me so far. She is in this setting and needs to be across town for chapter 2, and my original idea for getting her there just wasn't going to work, according to everything I'd researched. Phooey.

But here's where things got interesting. I went to Google Maps and brought up a street view of the area she was in, and--let me know if everyone knew this but me--you can actually "drive" down the streets in street view and get a real you-are-there view of the actual place, as long as it's been photographed by the Big Brother department at Google. Since my story takes place in San Francisco, that's not an issue. This is going to be a very useful tool (assuming I don't spend all my time virtually-driving around instead of writing).

As of this morning, I've written at least three versions of how my character gets across town, and each of them has ended up with something that just didn't work.

I am now remembering why first drafts suck so much.


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 30th, 2011 06:34 pm (UTC)
sadly the ability to drive down a street isn't always easy on google maps (it's easier in the UK, nothing is blurred out. I think they're less worried about getting sued)

good luck on working this out. Yes, first drafts can definitely suck
Apr. 30th, 2011 07:07 pm (UTC)
I did wonder about the pedestrians often caught in the photographs. I assume Google updates those frequently enough that you're not stuck on Teh Internets standing on that street corner forever. But all the same, yikes.

I've been contemplating looking at my old haunts on Google street view, but it's actually kind of creepy.
Apr. 30th, 2011 07:31 pm (UTC)
it depends on where you are if it gets updated. San Fran, often I'm sure. where i am, yearly probably.

I used it to scope out that possible trip to Wales
Apr. 30th, 2011 07:44 pm (UTC)
I wonder if they Google Mapped Maccu Picchu.
Apr. 30th, 2011 07:49 pm (UTC)
only one way to find out
Apr. 30th, 2011 08:07 pm (UTC)
LOL, then I'll never get any work done.
Apr. 30th, 2011 08:16 pm (UTC)
i know how that goes
Apr. 30th, 2011 08:36 pm (UTC)
you can actually "drive" down the streets in street view

The fish-eye lens they use can be a little deceiving, if you don't move around a little. I actually did use the drive function a little when I needed to check out that Del Taco you and I met at in Tempe. You can see the entrance in the first photo, but it I wasn't 100% sure. Oddly I think I had to be a little down the street to get a glimpse of the actual place (toward the north), and if the initial view had been more clear I'd have noticed that I'd already been to the restaurant next door, when a cousin of mine was visiting in Tempe.
Apr. 30th, 2011 08:45 pm (UTC)
I've found it difficult to keep the view moving forward. I'm constantly finding myself shifting it this way and that, getting a full-on view of the houses on either side of a street, or a myopic view of the asphalt on the street, lol. It is creepy how it lets you pan in any direction like you're there.
May. 1st, 2011 10:14 am (UTC)
Well, does Maccu Picchu have streets? :D

And if you want more creepy, you can put in addresses and see the actual houses. Our is there, from before we moved in, but still......
May. 1st, 2011 01:28 pm (UTC)
I googled my GF's street to try to figure out her address so I could send her flowers (her mom died on Thursday), and I am lame and don't know her exact address. But in the googling, there was a picture of her house. That was indeed creepy. You can "drive" down her street. So far, you can't "drive" down my street.
May. 1st, 2011 01:44 pm (UTC)
Sorry to hear about your GF's mother!

And sorry to give you more things to creep you out!
May. 2nd, 2011 04:20 am (UTC)
Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. Condolences to the Sculptor.
May. 2nd, 2011 04:25 am (UTC)
It was very sudden. She had a cold, which turned the next day into pneumonia, and then a stroke. She was 92, so it wasn't unexpected, just...sudden.
May. 1st, 2011 12:16 pm (UTC)
Can your character do something easy to get across town: meet a friend, go to a new bar/restaurant, go to an event, go to a museum or park, take up jogging, get lost?
May. 1st, 2011 01:31 pm (UTC)
It was an odd situation, because it's late in the evening and she should be getting home, not traipsing across town to accidentally run into someone she hasn't seen in ten years. So I needed to give her a reason to cross town after working late and walk into a bar she's never been to, ever.
May. 1st, 2011 01:44 pm (UTC)
After-work party, old friends (HS or college) getting together at this bar, she gets lost driving home because she's tired :D, she drives past her ex's house without thinking about (habit or willingly?) it then takes a wrong turn and gets lost....
May. 1st, 2011 01:47 pm (UTC)
It's kind of hard to get lost in a part of town you know well. San Francisco is physically small and not that complicated.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )