I think it’s a great idea to go to whatever place you’re writing about. But to go to a place to get ideas? Sounds silly to go to that expense when you might not even use the ideas ultimately, and may decide to set your story in a totally different place.
What bothers me, though, is writers who deliberately set their books in an exotic setting, then travel there and write the entire trip off as a business expense on their income tax. The rest of us are therefore paying for their trips. Someone admitted to doing this back in the Amazon discussion forums, and it made me mad. We should all be allowed to take expensive trips then at the expense of everyone else, but most of us can’t afford it and wouldn’t think to take advantage of other people that way. /rant
If I had the money? Hell yes. I mean research can sure help a lot but it is really different from actually going to the place I haven’t been able to do exactly that, but I have been to places that were the settings of my stories, and it was pretty cool to see how accurate I was… or what things I needed to change to make the story more accurate
Closest example I can think of right now is Paris. In 2020–2021 I wrote a book that was partially set in Paris, a few years after I went there for vacation. And before my Paris vacation in 2018, I had written the first draft of that book in 2015. The difference in accuracy is astounding. I remember going around the city and noting down all the things I could add or change in my book to make things better
Yup, I didn’t know this was a thing either until that woman admitted it. She was self-published, and her books weren’t even very good. But we paid for her to travel, and there are probably other writers out there doing this too. (-᷅_-᷄๑)
You have two choices in life; to research the achievements of others, or leave others to research your achievements ~ Ariel Sharon (paraphrased)
If it wasn’t good enough, you weren’t close enough ~ Robert Capa (wartime photo-journalist)
Fiction will never beat reality ~ unknown quote
Photography teaches you how to view the world without a camera ~ unknown quote (I wish I knew where this was from)
The smallest step eventually completes the grandest journey ~ Kyle Carpenter
There are two ends to a horse, which end do you want to deal with ~ Family saying (and possibly also Jewish saying) about Primary and Secondary source materials
I think traveling overseas to write about foreign countries (on site) is a great idea. There are so many small / random details, events, personalities that you can encounter while traveling (and can use in your writing) that you would miss if your research was just limited to books, photos, and videos. There’s also a personal perspective of these experiences that can show through (enrich) your writing.