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Coming to my senses

I’m in New York for the RWA National Conference this week. Now that I’ve been here twice, I might be brave enough to use NYC for a setting in one of my books, as long as the character is a visitor too. šŸ˜‰

When working with a setting, the visual is fairly easy. Even if you haven’t been to Times Square, you can likely find photos online or in a guide book. When I went to Europe last year, I took almost 1500 photos to document not just the beautiful scenery and buildings, but also the interesting, quirky things I didn’t want to forget about.

What I failed to take note of were the sounds and the smells unique to each city and area. I’m mad at myself for forgetting. If I want to use Lucerne in a book, I’m going to have to rely on second-hand accounts to add more sensual context.

So, my goal for the New York trip was to make sure I recorded more than just the view.

What I noticed from my hotel room–which was remarkably quiet for such a busy location–was the whistle of the taxi monitor and the occasional staccato whoop of a police siren.

Down on the street it’s rumbling bus engines, honking taxis, the smell of exhaust and donuts and whatever restaurant is nearby. Sometimes the scent is trash or worse.

Inside the hotel atrium there’s a steady buzzing of conversation from the eighth-floor lounge punctuated with individual laughter that carries at least twenty floors. Complementing that is the ding of the elevators and the hum of the glass cars as they zoom up and down.

It’s a start. Do you ever journal your travels? What kinds of things do you try to notice about the places you visit?

Credit: Free images from acobox.com

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4 Responses

  1. […] managed to sneak in a blog post over at Everybody Needs a Little Romance where I’m talking about the sounds and smells of New York. I’d love to have you stop […]

  2. […] of each month, I’m blogging over at Everybody Needs a Little Romance. I put up my second post on Friday from the hotel room in NYC. The topic was using senses in your setting. If you get a […]

  3. Nope, I’m bad at paying attention to details like that. I wish I didn’t remember so well, though, the vomit stench on 41st Street, despite my typical obliviousness.

    Another lesson for me! šŸ™‚

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