1. willowboy
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    willowboy New Member

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    American town 1950s

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by willowboy, Sep 22, 2012.

    I'm from England, but want to set my book in Maine. I have a rough idea of how my abandoned town should look, but I'm not sure whether certain buildings would exist? So would these buildings be in an American 1950s town: cinema; sheriff's office/building; main street with numerous shops; a junkyard. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You have some research ahead of you. You could start with movies made in that time and set in that area.
     
  3. shaunplus
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    shaunplus Member

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    Also, there's nothing wrong with looking at Stephen King's work. Most of his stuff is set in Maine. Try his book, Needful Things. Or It. Or 'Salem's Lot. Both are set in a past version of a Maine town.
     
  4. TheStarChild
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    TheStarChild Member

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    His new book, 11/22/63, will REALLY give you a good idea of what 1950s America, specifically Maine, was like.
     
  5. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    My first reaction is that an abandoned town and a sheriff feel a bit like a Western, rather than something that you'd see in a New England state like Maine.

    I realize that Maine does have sheriffs, but I believe that they're at the county level; the policing for a town would be... OK, I don't know, but if you'd said "police station" I wouldn't have had the "Huh?" reaction.

    And abandoned towns are something that I think of as happening in wide-open spaces, not a smallish area like, again, a New England state. I could be wrong, but I'd suggest checking pretty thoroughly. (Of course, maybe this is a post-apocalypse novel or something where there are plenty of abandoned towns.)

    The cinema, shops, and junkyard seem perfectly reasonable, though my particular dialect of American English would call the first two a movie theater and stores.
     
  6. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    A small town could have most of those - it depends on what you consider a small town. I always laugh when someone describes a small town with signal lights at intersections - WTF? But their idea of small is what we consider large around here.

    As someone else mentioned, the sheriff typically works around county boundaries, not town. Nowadays, many small towns contract with the sheriff's office for coverage (since they can't afford their own police department) but that may or may not have happened back in the 50s. The likelihood of a sheriff's office/building in an abandoned town, however, is close to zero, as they would be headquartered at the county seat.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    In the United States, a sheriff is an elected official at the county level. The sheriff oversees law enforcement in the county, although the office of the sheriff rarely overrides the decisions of local police officials, and in some states, state law limits the scope of responsibility of the sheriff. The sheriff nearly always has the responsibility for serving court summonses.
     
  8. MindTheGap
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    MindTheGap Member

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    Agree completely. King seems to be a Maine expert, owing that the majority of his stuff he began writing in the mid-1970s, so he has a grasp on about the past 50 years of Maine life. 11/22/63 was brilliant and also a good resource for the history of that event itself. Very well researched book, in my opinion.
     
  9. sharonwagoner
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    sharonwagoner Member

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    I believe people in Maine call small retail businesses shops, as you do in England, but if you use the Western USA, people usually call retail businesses stores.

    There are many little differences in language use between the UK and USA. If your hero is not English, you should have an American look over your story. I imagine you are well aware of the word differences.
    For example, in the US we call the ground floor the first floor, we call lories trucks, and the covering over a car motor a hood instead of a bonnet.
     
  10. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    towns in main that get abandoned. their are a few but those were logging towns, that are no longer logging.
    other then that i don't see many abandoned towns.
     
  11. IanLC
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    IanLC Member

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    The American South, and West have many films and site so the "typical" American town. There are several resources out there you can use to help you with your story! I hope you find what you need!!
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    there are also many films set in maine, some even in the '50s, such as some [perhaps most] of stephen king's novel adaptations...
     

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