Monday Pep Rally is a weekly feature where the Misfits post a question for you, the reader, to answer. You can answer on your own blog and link in the comments, or just answer here!
Hey Misfiteers, Cait here! We've talked a bit this year about setting. In January, Marieke talked about how the places we travel to can influence our writing. Last month, Dahlia talked about writing the places we call home, and at the beginning of April, Chessie talked about whether to worldbuild or not to worldbuild. And all that got me thinking about how I decide where to set my stories.
For me, a lot depends on the story. What's the genre? Obviously if it's straight fantasy, I'm not likely to set it somewhere like Paris, France, or Dayton, Ohio. But more than that, I have to really think about what the story needs. Do I need mountains? Beaches? Snow? A city or suburbs, or wide open spaces?
When I started writing ParaWars, my post-apocalyptic paranormal, I wanted someplace familiar. But more than that, I needed someplace that could easily have been reclaimed by nature in a few short years. West Virginia worked perfectly. I grew up in Virginia, hiked the Appalachian Trail. I knew the area, and from years of camping, knew just how easily the forest could take over. It felt just right, and the location pretty much came with the story.
Eyre House, on the other hand, took me a while. I had the story well before I had a location. All I knew was I needed a beach. Since it was a Jane Eyre redux, I wanted a place that had the same definitive flavor as England. The South seemed perfect. So I whittled it down. Florida wasn't Southern enough (if you live in the South, you know what I mean). Eventually I landed on Edisto Island, off the coast of Charleston, SC. A beautiful place that as soon as I found it, I knew it was right. But I'd never been, so I knew I'd need help.
But no matter how you get there, your location is important. Your setting can make or break your story. It's like a main character that acts and speaks through scenery and view. So how do you decide where to set your narrative? Is it random, or do you plan it out like you plan the story?
Photos by Cait Greer