I guarantee you'll enjoy reading this great advice about how you might come up with a setting for your next book. That is, if you write books.
You don't write books? Well, that's okay too. For all of us, everything we do, every place we go speaks to who we are and what we know. What we want to know more about.
It teaches us more about ourselves. And teaches others more about us.
Read on, and we'll see what our tip writer Delia thinks.
Does It Really Matter WHERE?
It don’t rain in Indianapolis in the summer time…
And it don’t snow in Minneapolis when the winter comes…
Right. Try making a half-intelligent reader believe either of those lies. Even if they’ve never been to Indianapolis, never visited Minneapolis, Roger Miller’s old song let us all know without a single doubt that it most certainly does those things in those cities.
One of the many details an author has to consider when writing a work of fiction is where it will take place. It’s a little difficult to take a reader through an entire book without giving them some sense of location.
That said…does it matter what that place is?
AH, THE DETAILS
(And what about Brer Rabbit? Now, that's a book with dialect!)
Religious affiliations. Yep, setting matters. While nothing’s impossible (at least, not with God…), you’re a whole lot less likely to find an Amish community in the Los Angeles area than in say, somewhere around Philadelphia, wouldn’t you agree? And if your main character was born and raised in Utah, please don’t try to convince your reader that they’ve never met a Mormon. What are the chances? Little pockets of specific religious denominations do exist in various locations.
General settings. States and/or countries completely aside, local setting matters. Surfers don’t tend to congregate in Oklahoma. Beach settings aren’t often arid and dry. Setting can even be reflected in the foods your hero and heroine most often eat. If they live on the coast, chances are they eat more seafood than a character who lives in Kansas or Wyoming. You’ll find more collard greens on the table of a Southern character than one who lives in Los Angeles.
So many details that can make or break a story, little things that make it believable or totally unrealistic. Place has its place in every storyline. Location, location, location.
The answer is “yes.” It really matters WHERE.
© 2010 Delia Latham
Adam's Wings (coming this month)
Graphics compliments of Ritva's Gallery and Julia Bettencourt.