Writing Insight III: Setting the Scene

A look into Vacation Fragments

Coyote Gulch, Grand Staircase Escalante, Utah

As many of you are aware, there’s a new entry type into the series called Vacation Fragments. Obviously, these take place completely outside Chaldea and are sparse due to how limited they make interactions. It does allow the bonds between a select few servants to blossom, but that’s only part of the draw. The real appeal is simple: What could be in a foreign land.

Travel is an exotic daydream to nearly all, an exciting yearly opportunity for many, and a livelihood for a select few. Regardless of where one stands, it never loses its appeal. An escapade into a distant land, in a language you don’t speak, with sights you’ve only seen in brochures, ads, or pictures. It’s very related to fictional works like stories, movies, and more: Because they take you out of your own life to temporarily embed yourself in something entirely different.

These ideas are what I am trying to ensure in every vacation fragment: to instill wanderlust.

I do what I can to take the reader to the location through sensory information and more, so you feel like you’re there. I usually do it with my photography, but writing makes it a fun an interesting challenge. I know I’m hardly known for my brevity (read: lack thereof), but it’s a fun challenge of keeping these sprawling landscapes and environments contained within so many words; That’s in addition to the main draw, the Chaldean servants.

Their experiences would differ, but they’d share many of the exhilarated thoughts as ours. They wanted to be there, and now they’re letting a new world envelop them without the chance of serious hostility. They’ve fought for a long time, and though they have their breaks in Chaldea, these vacations are like huge rewards they can redeem as they please. They may not be as out of place since they know the language, but they’ll certainly feel out of place.

So we come to immersion, but for the servants and yourselves, as readers. I’ve had some practice writing different locales with the supplements, but those were fictional. This is now reality, and I intend to portray it as such whenever it’s a locale that’s not created in the Nasuverse: I’m detailing Locations you can physically visit.

Ginza yon-chome is real. Antelope Canyon is real. The Grand Canyon is obvious… And that’s what I wanted to depict truthfully. Not stuff like Fuyuki, which are based on real areas but aren’t actual places. Instead, I opted for full immersion by trying to target locales you can actually feel for yourselves. It may also give the reader something extra to appreciate and envision while they’re there. Who knows?

That’s where my career actually proves itself extra handy for my hobby. Researching locales I’ve never been to is a staple planning measure. It’s easy to get through, so for Shiki’s fragment, it made the prep work a breeze. All that was left was using pictures and video to try and replicate the atmosphere with words. More of a challenge for me, but I was satisfied it came out well.

Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Then there’s ones like Geronimo’s fragment where I can really fire on all cylinders: Places I’ve personally explored and visited. The sensory information for nearly every locale in that area feels more natural. In addition, I’m more accurately able to depict the attitudes of the people you meet, both for tourists and behind the scenes. I’m able to paint the subtler colors most will miss if they’re not there to purposefully understand a world of its many aspects.

It also means I’ll be able to bend experiences to better fit the servants’ presence. I can also tailor vacations to offer experiences they need, just like Geronimo’s fragment did. But for me, the best part is it means far less time spent on research and more on writing. Geronimo’s fragment practically flew onto the document.

So that’s how future Vacation Fragments will feel and be designed. There will definitely be more from locations I’ve personally travelled to, and others that I haven’t. Regardless, the end goal will remain the same: To make the location equal parts meaningful/personal for the servants, and beautiful to read about.

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