It’s All About Location: Curious Settings

New York. Los Angeles. Washington D.C. Tokyo. London. Paris.

Monsters. Alien invasions. Superheroes. Freak weather conditions. What are these places, hotspots for disaster? What is it about these cities that we are constantly plunging them into chaos in our imaginations? Doesn’t that give you a strange vibe when you think about theses places in an everyday setting? When I was little I never wanted to go to New York, because it was so dangerous (after all, they needed Spider-Man to protect it from…King Kong?) If everything that we’d concocted actually occurred in New York City, all that would remain would be a pile of rubble covered in snow and radio-active whatsit.

Fortunately, there are those of us writers who create entirely new locations to cause mayhem. Superman patrols Metropolis and Bat Man keeps an eye on Gotham city (I wouldn’t want to live in either town though), and I don’t know just how many small towns dot the fictional landscape that won’t be found on any map. I haven’t even touched the worlds that don’t connect with ours…
Now, to the point: Location! Location! Location! Like ninja, we writers must always be mindful of our surroundings (real, plausibly real, or straight up imagination). Where we have things happen can directly effect how it happens and what will result of it. Now, why the sudden outcry on setting?
For those of you who aren’t aware, I’ve published a book that takes place in space. My characters spend the bulk of their time on an ugly, sterile military spacecraft that is so drab in my imagination that I get bored of even describing it to my poor readers. But that’s behind me, right? Wrong. I’m currently editing the sequel, which also happens to take place in space. I have the outlines for the third book. More space. (sigh) While I enjoy the plot and the characters, and I make the setting work to my advantage, I think of all the man-hours I have spent aboard a gray, metal-plated military vessel and wish desperately that my characters could take a break on some lush, colorful planet somewhere where I could describe some scenery worth looking at. But where do they end up? A sunless planet. Underground mines. Other space ships. Ugh. My poor, poor characters. I’m sorry to say that frolicking by a pond with the sun shining down isn’t in the near future for them. The story just wouldn’t be the same if it took place amidst wheat fields, or in the suburbs of LA. What needs to happen needs to happen in space. Sorry guys.
Maybe someday I will write something that takes place in the real world, in a real city. Maybe even New York, if there’s enough room with all the other fictional people who’ve crammed in there first…
Seriously, what is it about that city?

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