Google Maps Street View is one of my favorite tools as a writer. When I set out to write Expecting Happiness, I first asked myself what kind of book I was in the mood to read. My answer, something involving a travel adventure, so I set to work creating characters that wanted to leave behind their boring lives and hit the open road, (real stretch of the imagination, right?). Of course, I ended up taking them places I had been before, because writing about places I had never actually seen felt daunting.
However, I quickly realized that my fuzzy memories left holes in the pictures of these destinations, and the characters’ personalities also started to take them places within these cities that I never visited. My solution? Google Maps Street View. Now, I do not pretend to be the first writer with this clever idea, but it is one of my favorite tricks to help me understand the layout of a city and visualize its scenery. If you haven’t checked it out before, you should give it a shot. You never know what sort of inspiration you’ll find.