Today, I welcome author Candy Korman to my blog.
Guest Post – Location, Location, Location…
I live in real estate obsessed New York City, but this post is about a special kind of real estate—locations in fiction. The place in a story can be everything from a simple backdrop to a fleshed out “character.”
As a reader, I often travel via fiction. I’ve visited Donna Leon’s Venice so many times, that I half expected to run into Commissario Brunetti every time I entered a quiet piazza on my last actual visit to that beautiful city. Last night, I couldn’t sleep so I spent a few hours in Carl Hiaasen’s Key West. The sense of place that some authors achieve is seductive.
Real places help establish credibility for the incredible. Placing a wild adventure with improbable twists and turns in a setting that feels familiar draws the reader inside the drama (or comedy). This can be a typical suburb or a clichéd small town, but I think it works better when it’s a REAL, real place—a specific location that many, if not all, readers know on some level. Set a chase scene on the Capitol Mall and even people who have never traveled to Washington, DC will recognize the landmarks.
I just want to caution authors who know a popular place only from movies and TV to be very, very careful about how they use the location. Real places are tricky if you don’t know your territory. I’ve read all too many novels set in NYC that were written by people who seem to use old Woody Allen movies and Law & Order episodes as their primary source of location details. It’s upsetting when a subway goes to the wrong place or people use the wrong regional expression, i.e. sack versus bag. When I’ve set a story in place I love, but do not know intimately, I check maps, and verify as many details as possible.
When you know the terrain well, you can plunk a fictional restaurant, warehouse, office tower, horse farm etc. into the landscape and get away with it because it’s similar—or even based upon—a real place in a real area. This allows you the freedom to create the right location for your fiction. Just don’t give it an address that puts it in the East River!
A realistic setting makes the vampire, werewolf, ghost or other paranormal, supernatural or magical creature seem possible—even probable. I like “ground” such stories in places I know very well, taking a walk on the streets where the character lives—or hunts, haunts, hovers and hides.
There’s something to be said for the pure invention of places in fantasy and science fiction. I admire the ability of these authors to “map” a universe in its entirety, while I’m more excited by writing about a werewolf on Wall Street or the Devil dropping in to visit my favorite coffee bar. In fiction and in life, it’s location, location location…
‘The Mary Shelley Game’ is a contemporary literary thriller inspired by the horror classic — Frankenstein. A group of friends gather in a country house to share gourmet food, excellent wine and their own stories based on Frankenstein, but in the woods surrounding the house, a real monster lurks, plotting a bloody and violent end to the party.
‘The Mary Shelley Game’ is the first of ‘The Monsters,’ a series of new stories with roots in familiar tales of terror by Candy Korman.
About the Author
Candy Korman (AKA Candida) lives, writes, and dances Argentine Tango in New York City. Visitors to the Candy’s Monsters blog site will find twice weekly Monster Meditations on writing & all things monstrous; free short stories on the Timeless Tales page; links to books available on Amazon; and periodic Monster-themed contests.
You can find out more about Candy on her website.
You can check out all of her books on Amazon.