My first novel, We Will Always Have the Closet, was set in beautiful Seattle and surrounding areas. I lived there for a few years, so the places and the atmosphere of my setting came naturally to me. My second novel is a fantasy and still the setting is very clear in my mind. When I lived in Africa I noticed how the big cities were in some places being reclaimed by the jungle, and how the animals still wondered the sidewalks as if they owned it. So I used that image, fused with bits and pieces of folklore, to create a world in my head that it was every bit as real and clear to me as the place I live today.
So what happened with my current project? Why is it that over forty thousand words into the story, I still don’t have any idea where it is set? I have some places down pegged, such as the coffee shop they often go to, or the place where they are held, and even the forest where they hide. But where in the world exactly is this place? It’s here in the US for sure, but it really could be anywhere where there are urban areas and woods. Anywhere where there are coffee shops and yoga studios. Not very specific at all.
How come I had such a clear vision of the setting in my two first novels, but when it came to this one I got so lost in my characters and their relationships I forgot to pin point their location? Another good question is, is it really that important to know the story is in So-And-So city or is it more important to know the characters like to meet at the little quaint coffee shop down the street from the yoga studio they attend? Or that around the corner there is a unique little shop where the quirky owner will sell you potions to solve just about any problem in your life? Or that somewhere out of town, there are such thick forests, one could be lost within them for days?
As a reader, how much does knowing the exact location of the story’s setting really mean to you? For me it has never really mattered to me as a whole. It’s the details that have always caught and held my attention, but I often wonder how it is for others.
So, I hereby am asking you for your help in naming the city where my main characters and their sidekicks live. You won’t win anything but you will have the dubious satisfaction of seeing your choice of name featured in a possible future published book. Suggest away in the comments section. Remember. No real places and it will be the setting for a romantic comedy with a healthy dose of action and danger. Can’t wait to see what you come up with.