When I sit down to write, often setting comes to me first. I'm a very visual person—just ask my friends about the very elaborate calendar/timeline I see in my head when someone mentions a date and/or year. Or my critique group about how many times I say, "But wait, you need to describe the scene more, I can't picture it."
I've always been like this. As a kid I used to draw maps of made-up towns and sketch crude blueprints for the houses described in the stories I wrote. It annoyed me when I'd read a book and visualize a scene, and then the author would throw in something later that didn't jibe with my image (wait, the front door is to the RIGHT?) and I'd have to go back and re-imagine it. Or, I wouldn't, I'd just go with what I already saw in my mind and blatantly ignore the author, which sometimes led to all kinds of problems as the plot continued.
This still happens to me. Maybe I should be talking to a shrink about this...
ANYWAY, I ended up getting a degree in TV/Film, which further developed my reliance on the visual when telling a story.
One summer day two years ago, I came across an abandoned farm while riding my bike. Luckily I had my camera with me. I wish I'd gone inside, but I was scared of snakes, rotting floors, possible trespassing laws (although there were no signs, people!), that sort of thing.
Below are a few of the many photos I took.
When I got back on my bike, I thought to myself, "I'm going to write a ghost story about this place." And I did.
This setting was the inspiration for GHOST FARM.