Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Writing Locally

It always seemed appropriate to set Bo in my own hometown(s). I can't really explain why other than that it fits who I am as an author.

Livingston County is part rural, part suburban. The cities around here hardly seem large enough to be called cities. Especially when compared to a place like Ann Arbor or Detroit.

I never felt like creating a new setting. I knew it would really just end up being a form of Livingston County. Though, there is the issue of writing about a real place, especially a small town sort of place. Do I name the local places or not?

On the one hand, using local references give it a different flavor.

On the other hand, I don't get out much. Seriously.

So far, I've been using a hybrid. I mention some of the places I know, particularly ones that I enjoy. The rest, I make up. Makes it easy in some ways as I can create it the way I want. Why wouldn't I want to create a whole new setting-- that just seems like a lot of work. I prefer effeciency.

It's working for me on the input side. I wonder if it would affect readers on the output side? Or maybe they wouldn't notice unless they happened through Livingston County.

  • Currently Reading: Neon Noir, nonfiction by Woody Haut
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Travis Erwin said...

I write much the same way. Splashing in local name and places but manipulating and creating to serve my purposes as well.

John McFetridge said...

I think Travis is right, manipulate everything to serve your purposes.

I've been reading the Bo Fexler stories for a while now (since I first discovered them at DZ Allen's Muzzle Flash) and I think you have a very good sense of place. That mix of rural and suburban you mention comes across very well. The characters always seem quite natural in their setting.

I'm looking forward to a whole Bo Fexler novel.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I set everything I don't want to be specific about in a town called Shelterville. I don't know where it is except in my head, but it frees me up to invent a landscape that no one can dispute. It's my Bo Fexler, I think.

Clair Dickson said...

Travis-- I like the way you think. ;-)

John-- I'm hoping we'll both see that Bo Fexler novel sometime soon.

Patti-- than you mix a made-up town with the real ones? I've thought about doing that at some point.