|Buy Unsecure Connection HERE|
By Alanna Blackett
I don’t think you necessarily have to have lived somewhere to set a book there, but it’s nice to have visited. There are lots of picky things you might get wrong as a writer.
Some settings are easier than others. In my novella, Unsecure Connection, research didn’t matter as much because the story is set in a future where the city of New York has expanded to take over the lower half of the state. So the novella is in Tarrytown, but it wouldn’t look anything like the Tarrytown I’ve been to (a smaller Hudson River town) because I’ve imagined skyscrapers creeping up from Manhattan to create this big mega-city. Because of that, I didn’t bother to make things match up with real life.
I live in New Orleans, which has a lot of weird things that are extremely specific to it. So when I read books or watch TV shows or movies set here, it definitely sticks out when they get those things wrong. The HBO show, Treme, has been pretty amazing in terms of getting things right—and I think they employ a whole bunch of locals just for that purpose. But even they will sometimes succumb to the temptation of using a location because it looks cool, when the characters going to that place geographically wouldn’t make sense. For instance, in Season One, a character who lives in the Uptown neighborhood went for coffee at a place in the Marigny neighborhood.
Geographically those places aren’t that far from each other. But driving-wise, it is kind of a pain in the butt to get from that side of the French Quarter to Uptown. And there are twenty other coffee places that are more convenient.
So I’m always consulting Google Maps when I’m writing outside my comfort zone (pretty much always, since I have yet to set something in New Orleans). I’m working on a novel set in Victorian London right now, so that’s a bit more difficult. I’ve never been to London, but it’s in my Top Three of places I want to go. But I comfort myself by thinking about how even people who live in London have never been to Victorian London. So there’s that!
Technology does make things a lot easier. It is pretty amazing to fire up Google Maps and find a Starbucks near where your characters are, in any city in the world. And Twitter is actually a great resource. One time I randomly asked, “If Orcs were going to live in the subway in Manhattan, what line would they live in?” I swear I got five answers and three of them were the same, so that’s what I went with.
My cyberpunk romance novella, Unsecure Connection, starring two hackers who don’t trust anyone, virtual reality gaming, and an Evil Corporation, is available from Decadent, so check it out!
Leave a comment (with your email address) and tell me where your Top Three places are to go (or want to go!). One commenter will win a copy of my book, Unsecure Connection!