The holidays are here, and this time of year has many different meanings to many different people. No matter what your beliefs are, however, there is one thing that we all experience this time of year in North America; holiday shopping!
The idea for this inspiration post struck me as I was navigating my way through the crowds during Black Friday. Shopping malls and centers play a very important role in today’s society, as they are not only an important place of business, but also serve as a social gathering place for many. Furthermore, these places of commerce take on an entire new life during the holidays, as people flock to them in order to be prepared for their holiday festivities.
With this in mind, I decided to make Shopping Malls the focus on this month's inspiration article. We will explore different aspects of these establishments, such as their architecture and contents, and see how they can play a role in fiction.
To begin, let us take a look at the architecture of shopping malls. These buildings come in many different styles and formats, but some traits are recurrent among most of them. Their similarities include large hallways and high ceilings to facilitate clientele circulation. Store front will line each side of these passageways. Most will also have large gathering areas allowing people to sit and eat, more commonly known as food courts.
Of course these buildings would serve no purpose if they did not have stores! Shopping malls contain a variety of different stores in order to cater to their customers. This is convenient for shoppers (and writers looking for inspiration), who might be looking for anything from clothes, groceries, books or more. There are also many different restaurants where customers to rest and take a bite to eat which.
This covers all the areas that are accessible by the general public, but have you ever thought of what you couldn’t see? As an ex-security guard, I can tell you there is a totally different world behind those stores. Service corridors allowing employees to have access to storage areas, underground parking, mechanical rooms housing machinery which power the building and offices for administrative staff. It is something to take into account when trying to flesh out one of these buildings in a narrative.
Finally, we have the social aspect of shopping malls. How many of us have gone to shopping malls as teenagers just to hang out with friends? How many times have we seen older generations socializing at the food court or simply walking down the hallways? And aren<t we all guilty of doing the occasional window shopping? Shopping malls are a favorite stomping ground for many, as it has a lot to offer; comfort, accessibility, entertainment and much more.
As you can see, a trip to the mall can be beneficial for any writer. Maybe you are searching for references on the layout of a shopping center for a particular fight scene between superheroes. Or perhaps the mall is the main environment of your story, and you need to get a better idea of the layout, good examples are Mallrats - 1995, Paul Blart Mall Cop - 2009, or Dawn of the Dead - both 1978 and 2004.
As you can see, a trip to a shopping mall can be beneficial to a writer looking for inspiration. I hope you enjoyed this month's inspiration post and that I encouraged you to go out there and experience it for yourself.
Until next time.