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Writing Books/Where to set a novel


Hello Jannie, I'm about to commence my second novel which I intend to set in Mali and France, but I have never been to those countries. I need some background information. I'm an African writer and the story is somewhat African, so I can patch some things up. But I need some ordinary details like house descriptions, food, streets, clothes, etc to use. I intend to travel briefly to these two places at the height of my research, but don't know if it's a wise idea.

What is the question?

Do not write about places you haven't been or lived unless you do extensive research.

This includes geographical data, weather and climate, the terrain and territories, the people; social & cultural, the history, the current history; everything.

If you do that, then you might pull it off. Otherwise, write in locales and settings that you know.

Author Stephen King is from Maine, USA, and writes every novel in Maine settings- always. Dean R. Koontz is from California, USA, and writes all of his novels set in California. This is a must.

Very few writers can write about unfamiliar places.

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Jannie Balliett


I am a published writer, Chief Editor and own A1 Editorial Service. I teach writing, specializing in novel writing, and creative writing. I can answer most any question concerning writing a book, plot and characterization, tighten the prose, and the editing process, and help advise with publishing and the requirements of obtaining a literary agent.


I'm a published writer, freelancer, and Chief Editor and own A1 Editorial Service. I teach writing for my two Online writer workshops.

Sisters In Crime Internet Chapter, The Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Brazos Writers Group.

Writers Post Journal magazine, May 2006 issue, Augusr 2006 issue, Nov/December 2006 issue and soon in 2008, On A Whim, flash fiction anthology, offered in Barnes & Nobles and Amazon.

Some college, creative writing, fiction writing

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I have numerous clients using my service through my editorial service and numerous members in my Online writer workshops.

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