Advice on scenery ...

Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by JedCohelo, Sep 12, 2017.

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  1. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    You do realize that you're competing against 326 million Americans for the something like 2 chances in 6,000 of getting published? Especially as you're trying to set your Italianate novel in an America you don't really know.

    If you're doing this for commercial reasons, be prepared to be very disappointed. In a recent thread @BayView commented that she makes, from her writing, about twice what she'd make in a minimum-pay job. The chances of your being the next GRRM are slim.
     
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  2. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    You say you want to appeal to the average American reader, but there IS no average American reader. Narrow down your field.

    I agree with the person above who suggested setting this in an alternate world, either in space or a fantasy world or the future or whatever. But that will, obviously, narrow down your market, as a lot of people (a lot of Americans) don't read SF/F.

    Alternatively, set the book in Italy and accept that you're narrowing down your market to people who are willing to read about things happening in foreign countries.

    If your main focus is marketing, I think you need to accept that the market for books that seem to be set in one place but are clearly set somewhere else is a very small market. It's not a good idea. Maybe a master could carry it off somehow, but not a beginner.
     
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  3. Trish

    Trish Lost.. got any breadcrumbs I can follow? Supporter Contributor

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    You really think that Americans will only read something that takes place in their own county? That's just not true. Or even logical. It's still just not making sense to me, I'm sorry.
     
  4. JedCohelo

    JedCohelo Member

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    Meanwhile thanks for the advice.
    Now, I'm not saying I'll become a millionare, but at least go in a "better" direction.

    In Europe or Italy alike, if you go to a multplex cinema you'll see , : german movies, finish Movies, Danish movies, American movies.
    The best seller books, are from all over.

    When I'm in America, and I look at a multiplex cinema it's only American movies.

    So, are 90 of your/my(as an America) best seller (Brits included) books.

    IN the us: all the music has Englsih lyrics, whereas, a European has no problem listening to a Spanish, Italian, French, etc.. songs.

    Therefore.... It's better to set it in American.
     
  5. OurJud

    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Okay. You're clearly adamant you're going to set this in a country you know nothing about, so here's the only advice you need.

    Research American culture, attitudes, states, districts, language, slang, weather, architecture, street names, housing situations... and you're good to go.
     
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  6. Trish

    Trish Lost.. got any breadcrumbs I can follow? Supporter Contributor

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    I think maybe you're putting too much stock in this, just because they are American made movies (producers, companies) they do not all take place in America. Same for books. You're putting the emphasis in the wrong place. Of course, despite your thanks for the advice - it's clear you're going to rationalize your decision no matter what we say. I'm sure you'll figure it out.
     
  7. OurJud

    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sorry, @JedCohelo, my last post was hypocritical of me. I recently received similar advice to a problem I was having and it's not particularly helpful.
     
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  8. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor Community Volunteer

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    But you're assuming that Americans wouldn't be interested in a story set in Italy. Why?
     
  9. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor Community Volunteer

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    But isn't that a language issue? Are you saying that all of those German, Finnish, Danish movies are filmed with the actors speaking English? That doesn't seem likely.
     
  10. JedCohelo

    JedCohelo Member

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    no, German, Finnish, Danish speak their native tongue, and there are subtitles.
    But...
    I (it hurts me to say it), don't think America cares for 'foreign products'.

    Simple example: We, Americans(north) had to re-do simple sitcoms like '3's company', 'It crowd','the office','Sandford and son'.. even Ali G...etc..etc.. (and they were all british sitcoms originaly)
    Cause the average American is scared or simply doesn't care about anything that is not his own.

    Film wise they even redid "Fever Pitch"(which even by my low standards is an insult).

    They way I see it: The rest of the world is more open, we are more insultated. Therefore if a book is American, it could get more Viewers--

    Of course, in American, now , the North European (finland, sweden,etc..) crime novelists are 'famous-ish'..but that's a fad.
     
  11. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor Community Volunteer

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    So unless you're planning to publish the book in Italian, this is really not at all a comparison.

    Sure, sure, Americans would never read books set anywhere foreign. Like, that Eat, Pray, Love thing, set in India, Italy, and Indonesia--it was only a New York Times best-seller for 200 weeks. If it had been set in, oh, Nebraska, I'm sure that it would still be on the list.

    Yep.
     
  12. JedCohelo

    JedCohelo Member

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    yes..but Eat, Pray, Love -- had an American Protagonist. And it's very stereotypical.

    Shataram - also a bestseller.. in India..but the Main character is Australian (close to American). A lot of people fell in love with India thanks to that book. But there were tons of "indian" books written better, that never got any coverage in the states.
     
  13. Mayarra

    Mayarra Banned Supporter

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    If your story is written very well, people will read your book no matter where they are from.

    If your story is written as an audience pleaser in which you 'americanize' everything just for the sake of pleasing what you think your audience wants, it will very likely drag the story down. It loses the vibe that is should have. Americanizing your story will not make it a bestseller if you ask me.
    I do stick to my earlier advices. If you have it happen in Italy and want to appeal to american audiences, it might be better to drag the story to the American image of Italy rather than to the world's image of America. There will be tons of books happening in countries that never make it out of said country, but some writers also don't want that.

    To me it sounds as if you have it all figured out and hence ignore all we have to say, just because it is not in line with what you have in mind.
     
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  14. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I agree with the poster above that you are going to believe what you want to believe, facts or no facts. If you insist on writing a book set in a setting that you know little to nothing about, have fun with that.
     
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  15. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    1/ But it wasn't SET in the US...so set your Italian novel in Italy with an American/Australian MC.


    2/ As far as the reasons why a "better-written" book fails, just look at the success of 50 Shades. Whether you succeed or fail at writing is something of a crap-shoot.

    There's a Chinese (I think) proverb that goes something like..."Those who aim at the prize will miss the target; those who aim at the gold will win the prize". It could be translated to..."Those who aim to become best-selling authors will starve in a garret; those who try to write the best book they can will end up earning enough to keep them in waitressing."
     
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  16. JedCohelo

    JedCohelo Member

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    "Those who aim at the prize will miss the target; those who aim at the gold will win the prize" -- I like it.
    Problem is: It's an American tale, but I've lost references of pop culture and cities even small minor laws in the States.

    Thing is: Writers I like such as : Tolstoy, IcebergSlim, Welsh. Have respective Moscovites/detroit-ians/Scots(Edingbrough) characters who live in their home town.
    I love, LOVE, love how the cities and the people in their books are soo intertwined.

    How it's impossible to have one without the other. (even though their characters are unviersal,blah,blah,blah).

    I would like to replicate that 'feeling' but I have a set of American Characters
    and I've lost contact with the American scenary. Of course I remember some, but it's never gonna be as visceral as the above mentioned writers.
     
  17. surrealscenes

    surrealscenes Contributing Member

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    Mystery/thrillers from northern Europe are becomming more and more common to see here in the states, and most reading them don't know they were translated to English.

    Create your own city/town, populate it with people you know and it will make sense.
    One thing most don't think about the states....is that we are a nation of immigrants and we have a massive amount of land. Those two things mean that a lot of us don't need to go very far to 'enter a foriegn land'. Where I live is a constant influx of immigrants (west coast & tech) and a lot of people don't say "I am going to X city", they say I am going to Korea, or Russia, or Kabul, Vietnam, etc. Even our language is so vastly different from place to place.
     
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  18. JedCohelo

    JedCohelo Member

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    In war and Peace, every single WAR since, is non clichè, and in opens your mind to a "Of course, that's how real battles are..it's not platoon or full metal jacket"
    For example if WAR AND PEACE was 100 pages long, and he'd only have 1 fight- a non-clichè fight.
    The most schrewd and diffident read: couldn't think he strained his head for days, try not to make war battle non-clichè.
    But after 1430...you are sure it's real. or even if it was shorters, but had more battle scenes... you'd have no doubt the man went to battle.

    Tolstoy went ot war 3 times, not in Russia-France 1805 war...but in 100 years later.

    I always feel that authenticity , continual, brings in me the reader, a feeling of 'geniality'.

    Having said that, My option would be to create a city... where (some rules could be mixed)

    Any advice on how to create a city...a mix between an Italian city and an American?
    any advice would be grant.
    Thanks
     
  19. OurJud

    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's my understanding this was your original question and you've already had nearly three pages of answers and advice.

    I'm as bad as you in many ways, so take this from someone who knows. You're too set in your ways. You won't accept any advice. You're trying to do something, the motives for which no one understands.

    You will get nowhere while you persist with this. As I say, take it from someone who knows.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2017
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  20. surrealscenes

    surrealscenes Contributing Member

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    You'll have to figure out what you want and go for it. When I was in Italy I felt that Rome was like any city here in the states- loud, lots of traffic, rude people, trash, etc. I stayed one day and left.
     
  21. JedCohelo

    JedCohelo Member

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    yes, that's one thing I've noticed too, all cities are the same, and all people from the CAPITALS, when being observed by tourist, exagerate the stereotype of themselves.

    That's why I needed to figure out, how to name streets etc..etc... while "STAYING" in a n America city...without the purist killing me, say, If I make beleive am in Detroit or NY...
     
  22. surrealscenes

    surrealscenes Contributing Member

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    One place to start is knowing that most cities in the states have a section with letter streets crossing number streets. A-Z Street & 1-? Street/Avenue. And there will usually be another section of number streets that are the other (Street or Avenue). Most cities will have sections of streets named for whatever they were known for at one time.
    Where I grew up was orchards. When building started, a lot of streets were named Apricot, Plum, etc. The overall vision for the area was a lush suburban landscape, so then came the streets named after flowers & trees. If you know that area, you can look at a map and know what neighborhoods were built before others.
     
  23. Nightwraith17

    Nightwraith17 Member

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    I'm an American and a city in Italy would interest me. Of course it would. Even with not a lot of details. Focus on the things we all love. The food. The music. Your characters. That will make it universal.
     

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