I’ve just come home after a 10 day spell in Los Angeles. I’ve been quietly working at a novel for the past eight months, and nearly half of the story is set in LA. I’d been to LA before (briefly, 2010) and had some idea of where I wanted the scenes to be set. Google Maps came into play a fair bit. Still, I figured it was probably worth going over and actually checking firsthand the places where I planned to set the scenes.
Wow, and aren’t I glad that I did?
In fact, I had to rethink several of my scenes after actually standing on the spot where I imagined the action taking place. Santa Monica Beach, for instance, is still crowded on a cold and windy weeknight after the sun has gone down (at least crowded by New Zealand standards), not quite the romantic spot that I’d envisaged. Hollywood Boulevard is a touristy hellhole and not the kind of place you’d find anyone actually affiliated with the movie industry. And, contrary to my imagination, the Hollywood sign isn’t a quick stroll away (my character, peering up at the sign, had been inspired to leave the cafe she’d been sitting at and walk straight up to it), but is in fact a car ride followed by a two hour hike through the hills away. (It was a beautiful walk though!)
I also learned that the ocean’s water is very cold indeed, that it takes a good hour to get anywhere on the bus, and that I’ll no doubt have to take another trip to LA because in ten days I barely scratched the surface.
All in all, though, a very successful journey. Locations chosen. Photos snapped. Notes jotted.