Real Life in Fiction

I haven't yet decided whether to run with Project Jaipur or Sarah Hughes yet, but I have done a little more thinking about Jaipur. It is (expected) to be a buddy road (well probably rail) movie with beer - okay an epic pub crawl across many miles and days. It would like to grow up to be a comedy, but who knows?

I've already set out the nine chapter headings, which are largely geographically based, and I've the three main characters (and the princely sum of 2769 words down in Scrivener for it).


So it's basically the story about a pub crawl. I should be on firm ground here, right?

I started of thinking I should use real pubs, to almost produce a travelogue that could really be followed. There are several issues with this. For a start I'd need a week or two off to 'research' this which would be costly (if fun) - and the notes each day would get progressively more patchy and scrawly. Of course the way the pub business is things change so fast that by the time the story was finished a couple of the places would probably be closed, have their names changed or at the very least refitted - and the people change all the time - making any focus on real life descriptions pretty pointless.


While as a real ale fan and even more a fan of actual pubs it was quite attractive to make these places real. But in reality it is the story and the characters which matter most. The settings will be important, but they can be totally fictionalised. Should the finished article ever get read by anyone the important thing will be the story not whether the pubs and bars are real places and they could in fact distract the reader if I did a bad job of it.


So whilst I may use some real pubs in my head to set the stories in I'll change the names in all the cases to protect the innocent (and the guilty). This will mean less worrying about getting descriptions 'right' and more focus on getting the story right. When I wrote 'Fergie Time' I had a few real named places in it, but there were a lot less of them than would be in this story and the settings were less important than the narrative.

In summary, with Project Jaipur I have decided that while I will have lots of real venues in mind I'll change all the names. It'll be important to evoke the sense of these venues be they genuine or totally fictitious. Of course there will be plenty of real named places in Jaipur - just not the pubs - let's drink to that.

Over the next week or so I'll be deciding whether to run with Jaipur or Sarah. Looking forward to making the decision and then going with it.

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