Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Observation for Writers - Travel part 2

In the past few weeks I've travelled a long way, and to many different places, for both business and pleasure. This has been a lot of fun, but has also been monotonous and quite stressful at times. Today I am on my way home. My trip this morning started on a bus. Standing on a bus, with a suitcase, another bag and my rucksack. As this was at 7.30am it was rush hour. Now given the time of day the bus itself was not busy. However, what should have been a ten minute journey took 35 minutes due to the sheer volume of traffic. I read a few days ago that traffic in London is so dense that modern vehicles move more slowly than a horse and cart. I can well believe it.

The next part of my journey involved the tube from North Greenwich to Baker Street and then the Metropolitan Line to Kings Cross. Sorted. Well you'd think so, but no. They had shut the circle and district line which meant that the Metropolitan Line would be heaving. I duly got out at London Bridge and took a taxi for the rest of the journey. The taxi driver was lovely, but the traffic was crucifying. I was rapidly wishing the horse and carts were back on the streets.

So why am I telling you this, and what does it have to do with London? Firstly, this gave me a lot of time to observe my surroundings. it also gave me a lot of time to observe people. I also had an epiphany. Often, in my genre of Crime, there may be a high speed chase or two in the books. In most cities, depending on the time of day, this would be impossible. A brisk walk would be more appropriate, and much faster. Also, if someone is being tailed then a tube station in the rush hour would be impossible. Oxford Circus at rush hour, forget it.

I appreciate I am concentrating on London here but I am sure many other large cities are the same. During the rush hour, The Kingsway, a dual carriageway that goes through Dundee, is a car park. No one is escaping. Buses are packed and move at a crawl.

In conclusion, traffic conditions are something we writers should be thinking about when writing scenes in our books. I hope this has helped you think in a different way.

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