Guest post by author EJ McCay
I’m a visual person. I learn visually, think visually, and speak visually. Say wha? Speak visually? Someone asks me directions and I say, “Know where United is? Take a left there.” See? Visually.
I think I’m a pretty decent writer. What I am not is an architect. I can’t do it. I have to have something to describe. I can describe emotions because I’ve felt them. I can describe features because I’ve seen them. I can describe just about anything, but buildings. Because I don’t think in those terms.
I’ve tried building a house from scratch, and it looks like the Joker got ahold of it. Or like this:
Zillow is a great resource if you’re like me and need to visualize where your characters live. If I’m making up a fictional place, I find the town/city closest to my “area” and find houses in that area. What size house? How many bedrooms? One or two stories? I just type in where I see my characters living and then voilà! —house.
You don’t have to describe the house just like you see it on Zillow, but you’ve got the layout. Where the bedrooms are, the kitchen, the fireplace, and the outdoor space, they’re all are right there. It doesn’t have to be all brick or vinyl siding. I can be whatever materials are used in the area. You’re just looking for the “floor model” so to speak. But that floor model on Zillow gives you the ability to “see” it.
And you don’t have to do just houses. You can do townhomes. Find out what rent is in an area. What laws govern that area you’re writing about? Well, there are also rental resources on Zillow. Just move your mouse over “Rent” and it’ll come up with a menu giving you the option to click on it.
So, you see, it’s more than just a visual helper, it’s a resource for those country bumpkins moving to the big ol’ city across from the only attractive man in said large city. Or you know, vice versa.
Before pulling your hair out, next time pull up Zillow. A resource that goes beyond buying, selling, and renting. For writers, it can be a gold mine of architectural references. Or for the architecturally impaired…it can provide a home for those wonderful MC’s we’ve brought to life.
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EJ McCay grew up in Charleston, South Carolina and currently resides in Lubbock, Texas. She lives with her husband and two girls. Writing wasn’t always her dream. That came about when she was in her mid-twenties. Since then, it’s become more than a passion, it’s become part of what makes her tick. She writes in multiple genres from YA to Adult Romance. When not writing, she’s a nerd-herding lover of Chuck, and enjoyer of good coffee. Some of her favorite books include Ender’s Game, The Percy Jackson Series, and the Alex Van Helsing trilogy–just to mention a few.