Walking Your Street(s)

Character Exercise

Today’s exercise is about location. How well does your character know their town, village, city, etc? How well do you as a writer know it? Have you walked your streets, really walked them? That’s what we’re going to do today.

Describe up to three (or more, if you are so inclined), streets from your world. Use any viewpoint you like, whether street-view, top-down, first person, third, second… whether you’re a human, animal, bird, drone… even a shop or building. ‘If walls could talk…’ – well, let’s see what they have to say. So what do your walls have to say? What do your streets have to say?

What traffic went down them? Foot traffic, carriages, buses, cars…?

1. Pick a specific location, a landmark, or favourite building. Consider its history, its appearance. How has it changed over the years? Does it have any sentimental attachment to your character? For example, is it your character’s weekly pub?

2. Write a walk along the street. Any time of day or night. How do the hours affect it? Is the nightlife different to the morning? What do you see? Do the seasons affect it? Ice cream stands in summer, Christmas faires in winter?

3. Write an incident or event that occurs down that street. It could be a fete, or it could be a car chase. Whatever strikes your fancy. How does this impact your character, the community, and the street?

Taking it Further

Consider how the streets have changed. Are they the same as they were a hundred years ago? Did they even exist a hundred years ago? What about a thousand years ago? Did an old empire, like Rome, for example, ‘colonise’ the land and lay roads and settlements down? Who was here five thousand years ago?

What stores were there twenty years ago, even five years ago? What stories do the streets have to tell? How many secrets lie buried?

Have fun!

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