Novel idea (setting)

Last month I boldly declared myself a writer, so I thought I should get to some actual writing.  One particular idea has been lingering in my mind for a few years and I’ve been slowly fleshing it out since April.

Over the last week I have been overflowing with thoughts and questions about my characters – their goals, their desires, their arcs, their obstacles.  Consequently I have little else on my mind so I hope you won’t mind this departure from my typical mommy blog fare.  If you mind, I’ll be back to it soon enough.  Check back in a few days.

If you are game for taking a ride into my fiction world, today’s topic is setting.  I, personally, am a city girl and most of my travel consists of visiting other cities around the world or tropical islands.  I have little to no experience with what I envision as the setting for my story.

The novel is a dark thriller – no mommies or budding romances here.  I might call it fantasy, but don’t worry, there are no goblins or trolls or vampires either.  I feel in my gut it needs to be in particular place, even though I have no first hand knowledge of this location.

This is the rough sketch I have in my mind:

-the town is full of big, old houses with rickety fences in disrepair.

-hot spots include a bar, a hospital and a university.

-the landscape is sparse.  The summers are blistering, the winters frigid.  No tree-lined streets.  No lush gardens.  Even if the climate would sustain them, the inhabitants couldn’t.

-there are wooded areas.  Or at least one.

-there may (or may not) be a lake.

-most of the residents have lived their whole lives in this town, though a fair amount have gone off to war and returned.

This is where I turn to you my friends. Have you been to this place?  Do you know it otherwise?  Where in the US is it (town, state, region)?  Are there other distinguishing features that pop into your head?


About Carinn Jade

Mother, lawyer, yogi, writer, non-sleeper. Published @NYTMotherlode. Contributor @Mommyish @Moonfrye @HuffPostLive. I like beer (not wine) & tea (not coffee) & being a contrarian.
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4 Responses to Novel idea (setting)

  1. Sounds a little bit Wisconsin to me. Never personally been there, but my husband is always looking for property out there and attempt to persuade me…which will NEVER happen….EVER. Good luck. Keep going with it.

  2. Sounds like Wisconsin to me, too – which is where I grew up! Although I would say that Wisconsin has a lot of trees. So you’d get the wooded area, but you would also have tree-lined streets. Somewhere further south (maybe Missouri?) would be more sparse and not have tree-lined streets, but the winters wouldn’t be as frigid. Wisconsin is super hot and humid in the summer and the winters are incredibly cold. We’re talking 20 below wind chills on a pretty regular basis. Wisconsin is also full of lakes, so almost any town is either on a lake, or very close to a lake. Wisconsin has the highest ratio of bars to population, and in many small towns the main “hot spots” would be a bar (or a few), a church and a hospital. And it’s very common for people to stay all their lives in one town – I was lucky to get out!

    I’ll be curious to hear what others say. I’m sure there are a lot of areas of the country that could fit your descriptions.

    And actually, now that I think of it, North Dakota might be even better. Sparse and you get the cold winters. And it’s desolate up there. My brother-in-law is from there and his family is super sparse. No one leaves, I don’t really picture them doing upkeep on their lawns, the idea of the bar and the church being the main things in town would be the same, etc. Might be a good setting.

    I can’t wait to hear more about your novel! I’m sitting on the couch right now doing research for my novel! Let’s keep each other honest 🙂

  3. Taryn says:

    Ditto on Wisconsin. I spent a great summer in Madison at UW, and can attest to the scorching heat, dilapidated heritage houses, and of course one really fun lake!

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