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  1. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Where you live

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by deadrats, Jul 28, 2017.

    I often use places I lived or know very well for my settings. Just wondering how many of you are working on a novel with a setting similar to your setting in life? Even a crazy made up world has hints of the reality we're used to. I really can't imagine using a setting that I'm not familiar with at all. Do your settings hit close to home?
     
  2. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

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    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    On a global scale yes. :p

    Though I may venture into small town nowhere,
    to be the stage and puppet to my twisted imagination. :D
     
  3. Walking Dog

    Walking Dog Active Member

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    Yes, my settings are familiar. As a hiker, birder, naturalist, kayaker, sailor, surfer, fisherman, snorkeler - and living within minutes of the Gulf Coast - it should not be surprising that the lion's share of my stories deal with water activities or the outdoors.
     
  4. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    I live in the southeast and most of my non-fantastical stuff takes place, at least primarily, in the same area. I don't use the exact places, but my settings are amalgams of them. I've always felt like it might not be too imaginative of me, but eh.
     
  5. GlitterRain7

    GlitterRain7 Galaxy Girl Contributor

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    I've done a bit of research, and where I live and the setting of my novel are somewhat similar. How much so, I can't tell you, as I've never been to the state my novel takes place...yet. Someday though, I will venture there, and I'm really excited for when that day comes.:)
     
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  6. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Why would you choose a place you have never been to set your novel? Aren't you worried that people who have been there might be able to figure out you haven't?
     
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  7. NiallRoach

    NiallRoach Contributor Contributor

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    My work in (eternal) progress is outright set in my hometown. I don't have the chops for proper worldbuilding, and there's no point to pretending that it's not a real place.
    I do also intend to write stuff set in Latvia, where I lived for around 18 months, and Japan, where I'm living at the moment.
     
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  8. GlitterRain7

    GlitterRain7 Galaxy Girl Contributor

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    Like I said, I've done research. That's sufficient for me right now. I haven't been to the place my novel is set because I'm still in high school. By the time I'm ready to take my work to an editor and stuff I'll have visited there, and corrected any mistakes I've made in the setting aspect.
     
  9. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I didn't realize you were so young. That's awesome that you are already so into writing already.
     
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  10. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Well, basically because my story can't be set where I live—because I don't live on a ranch in Montana in 1886 or Kansas in 1873-1879. I live in Scotland now, and grew up in Michigan. And yes, I worry a lot that people who have been where my story is set will figure out that I haven't. (My exact locale is fictitious, but the general setting isn't.) I've researched my arse off, however, am a member of the Montana Historical Society, and have visited places that are similar in terrain and not too far away.

    But yeah, I do worry.

    However, anybody who writes outwith their time and place has to contend with this issue. The answer to it is a combination of research and imagination.
     
  11. Lemie

    Lemie Contributor Contributor

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    I'm writing about a post apocalyptic Sweden where my hometown (a version of it) is rather prominent. I choose to do that for fun, rather than because I know the place.

    In my opinion, though, I think you could write about anywhere and anytime. Sure, more research, but limiting yourself just feels unnecessary. A lot of people can't afford to travel, why shouldn't they be allowed to write about a place where the story makes sense?

    To be honest, I never read a book where I though "huh, this writer can't even have been on the same planet, this is nothing like place X", not even books about the place I live (which are rather few, to be honest). So, I don't really think it matters.
     
  12. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I sometimes write about places that are similar to where I live, sometimes write about different places.

    Honestly, setting a book in Canada kind of sucks for any stories that you want to have dramatic struggle against an unfeeling world...

    Not saying that it's easy being poor in Canada in real life, but we generally expect a bit more of our fictional characters than we do of real life people.

    A generous social safety net is great for human beings, but not so satisfying for fiction!
     
  13. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin The game sour like a pickle be.... Contributor

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    Unfortunately Stephen King has ruined the backwoods Maine/NH small town setting where I live. I'm half kidding... not my fault we're from the same area. Most of the stuff is sci-fi-ish anyway, so I get to use the woods, mountians, and snowscapes when I want to anyway.

    For urban settings I go with Boston or New York because I'm familiar with the neighborhoods and the kinds of people likely to be found there.
     
  14. GlitterRain7

    GlitterRain7 Galaxy Girl Contributor

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    How so? Just out of curiosity. I've never read anything by him but my novel takes place in a fictional city in NH.
     
  15. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin The game sour like a pickle be.... Contributor

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    Just about all his books take place in (fictional) small Maine/NH towns (including a few in the town where I live now). It's not really that big a deal. I wouldn't let it stop me if I really wanted to do it. Mainly it's the references. I read and reread so much King when I was kid that I still have entire passages of his writing leap into my brain, and I found myself describing a small New England town using the same language.

    You from the area?
     
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  16. GlitterRain7

    GlitterRain7 Galaxy Girl Contributor

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    No, but I chose NH because I thought it was a logical place for my characters to live. I knew I wanted somewhere in New England, and I wanted somewhere I could easily include nature and forests. I could've probably chose any state in the vicinity but I just decided on NH.
     
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  17. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin The game sour like a pickle be.... Contributor

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    Yeah, any of the New England states would have worked. Maine, NH, and Vermont are by far the most wooded. Mainly because nobody lives here while RI, Mass, and Conn have a shitload of people relative to their size. NH has the only mountainous "alpine" region on the East Coast, and I've used that in my writing. There's nothing like being above the tree-line when it's -10 out. The wind can literally steal your breath when it hits the 150mph range, not that I've experienced that or anything. Worst I ever saw was a squall in the middle of summer that had me running for shelter like my ass was on fire. It sounded like a train ripping itself apart. I actually have an idea for a book based around all the dipshit climbers and hikers that come up here to die. We get a few of them every year, most of them are suicides. People show up out of nowhere, leave all their possessions on the side of the road, and just start walking. Sometimes they don't find them for years. We had one a couple of weeks ago. Not sure if he was of the suicide variety or not, but the romantic in me tends to lean in that direction.
     
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  18. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    Well my first novel was set in Los Angeles, because it seemed like the most realistic setting for a book that centers on a reality TV show. And my WIP Gravity, which is about a famous rock star and his personal trainer is set there as well, because it fits the story best IMO. I've been to L.A. twice, but only for a couple of days each time. Researching restaurants, music studios, climate, etc. is pretty easy to do these days, and I've yet to have anyone complain that my description of The Rooftop on Wilshire is off so far that it distracts them from the story. I'd be surprised if anyone who's read Under the Knife has ever even been there, as it's pretty exclusive.

    Also, a big chunk of UTK takes place in New Zealand, where I've never been even close too. I did all my research and then sent those chapters to an online friend who's a native New Zealander to beta, and she really only had to correct one thing out of the multiple chapters I wrote that were set there. I think if you're an effective and diligent researcher it's not hard to get pretty damn close to the truth with today's technology.
     
  19. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    My settings are almost always real places that I have been to. I looked back over my short story contest entries and all of them include either the backwoods of Appalachia or New England fishing villages. My "city" story took place in Scranton, PA, a place I know very well. Every small town in any story I write has a hint of Honesdale, PA, the tiny little town that I grew up in.

    I very much enjoy when local features in entertainment have real life inspiration. For example, the tv show The Office took place in Scranton. I love all of the little nick nacks around the show that only people from the area would get: things like the Froggy 101 bumper sticker on Dwight's filing cabinet is a real local radio station and that Pam attended Valley View High School, which I competed against. Even the Scranton Welcomes you sign from the intro is a real sign on 81.
     
  20. NathQ

    NathQ New Member

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    I think that its a good idea. I am making a fantasy world where some of the place names are puns for places I am familiar with.
     

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