I have a question: is it hard to write about a foreign country/place?
I know that Dostoevsky was Russian, his themes and settings were inspired or entirely based by Russia/the Russian culture.
But I also know Howard Philips Lovecraft who wrote in unfamiliar settings (foreign and imagined) and thus 'created' them. Because they were 'created', he wasn't as pressured to verifying details, unlike someone adopting a foreign setting, he invented them!
And here is the paradox: although Lovecraft was a great writer, his imagery and scene/feel/place/culture suggestion power wasn't enough, because he couldn't write about foreign countries (in features/troubles/traditions) in the real world. I suppose because of the amount of required research, or he didn't feel like it.
So, how should a beginner go about writing about unfamiliar places/settings in the real world? Min you the beginner doesn't yet know where to look because they haven't tried and got it wrong before. What's the first step to avoid that 'going wrong' from the get-go?