Monday, December 8, 2008

Google Earth

I'd heard a lot about Google Earth, but hadn't actually taken a look for myself yet. While I was doing some more re-writing on SOAP book 1 the other day I suddenly realized something. With Google Earth, I could see exactly what anywhere in the world looked like and describe it for setting my scenes. This prospect was very exciting for me because I am firmly an armchair traveller. Oh, I've been almost all around Australia (with the Northern Territory and Western Australia being the only places I haven't been) but I'll admit I'm a total wuss. I don't want to go overseas for the simple fact that it just doesn't seem safe with all the terrorist attacks that have happened in the last eight or so years. I know, there's probably many arguments against my confounded logic, but I don't feel like I'm really missing anything by not going.
Anyway, so I downloaded Google Earth because I wanted to see what a particular bit of Indonesia looked like where my characters end up. This is where Google Earth becomes a very helpful tool. While I had my characters walking along a beach fringed by jungle with not a bit of civilization in sight, wouldn't you know the piece of coastline I'm talking about is populated with rows and rows of beach houses. So that stumped me, didn't it? I found a section of coast that would match what I was talking about and put my characters there instead. At least now I will be able to accurately describe the places I'm talking about and not just be making stuff up to suit the story. I much prefer my work to be researched and true to the facts. Although it could easily become another time waster while I map out a course for my characters (I already wasted at least an hour looking up our house, my family's shop, my sister's house, my in-law's house, the studios where Supernatural, Stargate and Smallville are shot, some famous streets in New York and LA, and the Great Wall of China. Random, I know.) I'll try to be disciplined about it. I managed to beat my Facebook addiction, otherwise known as the time-sucking vortex demon.
Anyhoo, instead of talking about how great I think Google Earth is as a writing aid, I should actually go do some writing!
Song: Tribute by Tenacious D

2 comments:

lynn said...

Ooh! I hadn't even thought of using Google Earth as a tool for setting-research. This is going to be a time-suck, I can tell right now ... but it's not wasted if it's research, right? ;)

Justus M. Bowman said...

You reminded me of the great part of creating a strange world...no rules.

I can see how Google Earth might help me if I ever continue work on another book I started. I don't know much about big cities.