Snarkling Clean

Snarkling Clean- because you don't have to cuss to make fun of stuff. Two dedicated readers discuss romance novels- from what made us weep with joy to what made us want to poke pencils through our eyeballs.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Location, Location, Location

Just re-read Anne Perry's The Cater Street Hangman, her kick-off book to the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series. A series I totally adore.

Now, I will freely admit to being a total sucker for foggy, gas-lit Victorian London. It's one of my favorite settings, and will usually get the book/movie/show an automatic star just for that alone. And I admire how Perry can achieve the iconic feel of the place yet still make it seem immediate and real.

How do you decide your settings? I don't like to go on and on about a place I've never been, but writing only on the towns I've actually lived in is ZZZzzzzzzz...

And you just know if I wrote about a city with which I had only a passing familiarity I'd hear about it. T.V. shows have people clad in solid black leather in Las Vegas or Miami in the summer, or show a little town on the plains of Kansas with mountains in the background with nary a peep; but let me get one little detail wrong and I'd be subject to angry blog bees buzzing about how Seattle doesn't have a Chinese restaurant that close to that neighborhood, or how no proper Bostonian would ever wear that, or that it never rains in Southern California.

Which is, pretty much, why I write fictional towns whenever possible. Of course, that works for me because I don't tend to write the place as a character in the story. If the setting is New Orleans or New York, the town is as much a character as the hero and heroine.
What about you? Real city or land of make believe?


Blogger Jennifer McK said...

Um, I wrote a book set in Alaska. I'm skeered cause I know I'm going to get slammed for my depiction of Alaska.
As often as possible, I go with places I know. That would be my home town and county.

6:32 AM  
Blogger StarvingWriteNow said...

I'm a town-of-make-believe writer in my actual state--does that make me a 50/50?

Thanks for the tip on the series; I need something new to read!

12:15 PM  
Blogger Bernita said...

At present I'm dithering. Think it will be imaginary.
Have used a real place before but the modern city's "character" was irrelevant except for the odd reference.
However, a certain evocative atmosphere composed of time and place is necessary in historicals.You have to build the world.
Don't think that's as necessary in a contemporary.

5:18 AM  
Blogger Robyn said...

Don't be skeered, Jennifer. I'll take Alaska any way I can get it!

Beth, I do that, too- states are a little easier to do.

You could be right there, Bernita. Many of the larger cities are pretty etched in our brains from movies and tv anyway.

6:01 AM  
Blogger December Quinn said...

It pours...oh man it pours...

I write nonspecific cities, or historicals, or Miami/Ft. Lauderdale because I was there for twelve years and it is an exciting enough location. But I dislike doing city research and I'd rather just have it be "the city" and everyone can guess.

7:50 AM  
Blogger Robyn said...

I'm all over that, DQ. Everyone has a pretty good idea of 'small town' and 'big city.'

1:00 PM  

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