Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wednesday Wanderings

Location, location, location.

Back when Flow first came out, I defined why I considered it contemporary fantasy, not urban fantasy.  Part of the reason is, despite the road-trip aspect of the story, it doesn't really occur in or involve a city environment.  Most of the tale is spent in smaller population centers or in outlying suburban areas.

As I look at other contemporary fantasy stories I've written, this generally holds true.  (Xmas Wishes occurs firmly in suburbia.)  Part of it is, I'm sure, that I'm not comfortable enough with many big cities to be confident using them as story setting, but the lion's share is that urban settings really don't interest me that much.  As a personal preference, I don't like the bustle and claustrophobia of big cities; I don't feel the allure or the mystique, even if I can grasp it on an intellectual level.

It is in the quieter spaces that I seem to find my modern-day stories.  Some of them are even inspired, to various degrees, by experiences I've had.  A Flow-verse story I'm currently trying to sell entitled "A Dose of Aconite" is set largely in an anonymous nowheresville motel that is modeled after the place I stayed outside of Oberlin when I was getting my SHSA (Scottish Harp Society of America) judging certification.  And the skeleton outlet mall between Cincinnati and Columbus where confrontation occurs in Flow?  That's a real place ... with some tweaks, of course.

I do think that abandoned and desolate places have appeal for me as a writer.  (A while back, I mentioned that I finished a new story, then an old free-write start ... only to realize that both revolved around a mysteriously abandoned population center.)  Most of the action in Flow occurs in the spaces between ...

Of course, one of the fun parts of using the real world is highlighting its oddities.  A retired humorous novel of mine pokes at the fact that the Cincinnati airport is in Kentucky.  Flow makes a reference to the glitzy, over-the-top McDonald's in Asheville, North Carolina.  One of my unsubmitted stories, Lip Service, uses every single reference to metaphorical kisses I could find, from Kissimmee, FL, to Kissing, Germany, to Hershey's kisses, to a Glasgow Kiss ...

No comments: