You know what they say about real estate — location, location, location!
So, what about women’s fiction? How important is the setting? Some books are centered around the town or city or even the house where the character live, work and interact. Some are not. In some books, the setting is its own character and has its own voice, in a way. If the story could not take place anywhere else, I say that the setting is playing a vital role. Sometimes it’s general — a beach, a small town, a big old house, a busy city. It could be a very specific town with a history unlike any other. This could be fictional or not. Fiction takes place in real places (I know you understand!) and fiction takes place in fictional places as well.
My current novel, THE GLASS WIVES, takes place in the fictional Chicago suburb of Lakewood. This story had to take place in a suburb it could have been any suburb of any major city as long as I wrote it a particular way. I mushed together (a very technical thing to do, don’t you know ) all the places I’ve lived as an adult and came up with Lakewood. It is an amalgamation of my current small town mixed with some bigger suburbs I
wish I lived in have visited and know about.
I know that women’s fiction is about the journey — but how important is it WHERE that journey takes place? Some books (Kat Magendie’s TENDER GRACES pops to mind; as does LITTLE BEE by Chris Cleave) could not take place anywhere else.
Right now my untitled WIP has no setting. I’ll admit it’s troubling, but I’m just not there yet. I’m hoping that it comes to me organically — where these three sisters MUST live. I know they live where they grew up. But I have no idea where that is. I grew up in Philadelphia — but I’m not sure they did. I’m not sure I can pull of anything Southern (I’m an East Coast expat in the Midwest). I like small town dynamics when I read them in novels, but I’m thinking this story is a little more urban. A little more crowded but not big city.
Do you think they have GPS for writers?
Where in the world is YOUR women’s fiction? What do you read and what do you write? And, have you researched settings or just made ’em up or just written from memory? Do tell!
We’re celebrating my daughter’s birthday, so I leave today’s discussion in your capable hands! I’ll read the comments and respond, but probably not until Wednesday or Wednesday night. If you dont’ want to miss any of the bloggy banter, just subscribe to this post’s comments.