I don’t live in an interesting city.
Don’t get me wrong – I love where I live. It’s pretty, the crime rates are fairly low, everything is pretty easy to get to and the weather is…well lousy, but that’s all right; at least I get to experience all four seasons, even if they can all be extreme. But as happy as I am to live here, I don’t think my characters ever could.
I was thinking about this the other day. I’m starting a new project, and at the present time it’s setting-less. “Enter main character’s apartment”, but it’s still sort of a building floating in the middle of nowhere. I thought for a moment about setting it here, but then realised it wouldn’t work. I know other people have set stories in my area, and they seem to have pulled it off, but whenever I start I always imagine readers giving me the big eye roll that I couldn’t be more creative.
I’m looking out my window and trying to imaging a dragon swooping in and setting fire to the trees. I can’t see it. For me, it’s more likely the dragon would land, pull out his clip board and start checking off squirrel-tree ratio violations.
I don’t have the same hesitations or uncertainty about setting my stories anywhere else, and I’m not sure if everyone feels that way or if it’s just something I need to work on and get over. If you wanted to, could you write a story set in your neighbourhood? Could you see your MC sitting in the pizza place down the street, or going for a run along the bike path? Would your villain have a place to plot and a good well-known landmark to threaten? Or do you, like me, send them out in the world and always have them destroy/save other places?
Am I being picky, or have I just discovered one of the greatest excuses to travel my parents will ever hear?