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So, it's April. How is it April already??? I know a lot of you are participating in the A to Z Challenge, but I've decided to skip this year. I have a GIANT list of reasons for that (some I'd rather not get into) but the main thing is that I really need to focus on editing my novel and I know doing the Challenge will take away an entire month from that. It is rather relaxing, though, not having to worry about getting posts done and visiting others. Now I just actually have to make good use of the free time.
Recently I was doing some setting research that led me to a heartbreaking realization (ok, I'm exaggerating a little). It really just started out in Chapter 7 with the narrator mentioning a ten minute subway ride to get to another character's apartment. I just wanted to make sure it actually would be ten minutes--turns out, yes, I had that right all along--depending on which station my MC lives closest to, I'm flexible with that. But at least it was believable enough to work.
But for some reason I went into research mode and turned into some kind of psychopath. I've always had a vague idea of what neighborhoods my characters lived in, but I wanted to make sure it was realistic for them to live there. So this leads me to browsing actual apartments and wondering if a character could afford an apartment on the Upper East Side and...well, probably, but said apartment would be a lot smaller than how I pictured it in my brain. But that's not a big deal. Easy fix.
The devastation came because I've always kind of wondered if a certain detail about said character's apartment would actually be realistic. I don't even know why I haven't done the proper research before, but I decided I needed to settle the matter.
So all this nonsense is about windows. I've always had this character's bedroom not have any windows. This was for some pretty heavy symbolism. It was just one of those things that worked and made sense but I wasn't bashing the reader over the head with it too much. I'm pretty sure I only mentioned it twice. But if they're able to read between the lines, it was saying a lot.
The problem? It's actually illegal for a bedroom in an apartment to not have any windows. In New York, at least, and I assume most other places. I know what some of you might say--so what, do it anyway! I'm just not sure it's an important enough plot point to do something that would never happen in the real world. Was it a cool bit of symbolism? Yes! But am I willing to have the reader question if the story is realistic over it? Uhhh...not really.
So, farewell symbolism! You were cool while you lasted. I guess I'll just have to put up curtains.