Writing With a Sense of (Some Other) Place

In the first draft of my first trunk novel, the story was set in a small town that exists in real life.  My characters lived in a house that belongs to one of my family members, and got ice cream at the very same cafe that used to make the best root beer freezes in the entire world. My villain took several people hostage in a very weakly disguised version of a business where I worked for a couple of months, once upon a time.

Oh. And, of course, my villain was a serial killer running rampant through streets and businesses that really exist, and which would probably prefer not to be associated with mass homicide.

This is interesting. It’s a small town. Fading. I don’t remember it’s glory days, and frankly, it isn’t getting the best of the current economy. Or the one before. Or… well, any economy in recent memory. I keep hearing revitalization, but I’m just not seeing any.

A cadavers and carnage museum might be just the thing to pull people off the main road and into the local businesses. If my stories were very popular, it could be the Mitford of Mayhem. They could give tours, and maybe have a parade.

Ultimately, common sense kicked in. I fictionalized the crap out of that town, and moved it across the border into Iowa. Iowa appreciates a good bloodbath. Unlike some places.

Do you write about recognizable, real places? Or do you change them, so people won’t know? What made you make that choice?




  1. Reply

    I pull from nature, but rarely specific places past that. Writing a medieval-type fantasy with a geography unlike anywhere I’ve ever been really requires the imagination to do most of the heavy lifting…

    (PS: Do you check your contact email regularly, or is there somewhere else I should message you?)

    • Reply

      I check my contact email pretty regularly, but now and then… I just fished your email out of my spam filter and added you to my whitelist. I do also have a karen@(domainname) email address, but right now, they all get forwarded to the same big inbox.

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