Be Romantic: Use An Exotic Locale in Books

By on October 18, 2017

We all love to travel. Books help us get to distant locations and experience worlds that we may never have an opportunity to see in real life. Some of these worlds are too far away. Others come alive solely in the imagination of the writer.

Have you ever read a story that doesn’t offer you anything in terms of locale and settings? If you have, chances are that you don’t want to go back. Experts have found out that fiction readers want a couple of things –an escape from reality, laughs, an intellectual challenge and a surprise among few hours.

An exotic locale can address several of these needs. The concept may sound a bit ambiguous at first but it’s easy to define.

What is an Exotic Locale?

The thrills of travel – this is what an exotic locale is all about. People are explorers deep in their hearts. This is probably one of the most important reasons why we devour quality books. They give us an opportunity to indulge in the experience. To discover a distant world that’s so exotic and different from everything we get to go through on a daily basis.

Exotic settings or an exotic locale refers to a distant country or a non-existent exotic place where the action is taking place. Hogwarts in Harry Potter is an exotic locale. Dan Brown’s Inferno and The Martian are other books featuring an exotic locale.

Exotic locale writing is far from easy. It involves more than describing the place. Cultural references, language and climate specifics will have to be taken into consideration to paint a comprehensive picture. Any hole you leave will immediately ruin the consistency and kill the magic.

Getting Started with Exotic Locale Writing

What’s the key to a great exotic locale? You’ll have to do the one essential that will be determining for every other aspect of writing – research. If you’re writing about a real location, you should either have intimate knowledge about it (a country that you visited, for example) or you should do sufficient reading to make the settings authentic. Readers need details in order to be transported to a location. If you can’t provide those, you should probably stick to something less exotic and a bit more familiar.

Exotic locale writing has a number of key specifics. The most important things to do and rules to follow include:

  • Consult a wide array of sources: sure, online searches, even online prof writers are easy and they give you access to tons of information. Travel books and even documentaries, however, will enable you to “see” the place. Take some time to watch a couple of travel films, even movies that are set in the specific place. Getting inspired by fiction is a wonderful idea. One thing to be careful about however, is not getting influenced by the original style.
  • Forget about your assumptions and cultural biases: these will immediately be evident in your writing. Start with a blank screen, both literally and metaphorically. Open your mind. You may even want to interact with people from the respective place. Online communities, discussions groups and forums give you such an opportunity.
  • Use a map: whether your book is set in a fantasy or a real exotic location, a map will benefit you and it will also give readers valuable information. This is a great starting point. It can help you make plot decisions, as well.
  • Know the history of the place: or come up with a history for an imaginary exotic locale. The history has a major impact on the appearance, the architecture, the nature and the cities/settlements. History and background will give the settings a few layers, making the exotic locale deeper and more meaningful. By having a good idea about the history of the place, you’ll also get to effortlessly tie the locale with the plot.
  • How will your characters interact with the locale: the place will affect your characters and their actions. This is something to think about in advance if you want consistency in the story.
  • Think about your audience: this is the final and probably the most important thing to do. A place that’s incredibly exotic to you may not necessarily be exotic to your readers. Every person will respond to a locale in a unique way. If you’re writing for an international audience, you’ll find it very difficult to present the place as exotic to just about everyone going through the pages.

 Exotic Locale with a Purpose

As writers, we’re tempted to make things unusual, unexpected and fresh. Exotic locale writing provides such opportunities. Before you start thinking about the most exotic place on earth (or in outer space), however, you should have a clear idea about how the settings are going to impact your story.

Exotic locale for the sake of exotic locale isn’t going to accomplish a lot. It has to be meaningful. It has to add to the story. An exotic locale, for example, could provide a nice contrast to the protagonist’s familiar home (hence, a conflict could arise). Have a clear plan right from the start and understand the impact of the settings. That’s the only way to craft a compelling story that people will enjoy rather than question.


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