Thursday, April 10, 2008

Southern Gothic--Or Why Do I Keep Setting Novels in Florida?

Vesta is turning into a Southern Gothic novel. I wasn't going for that, but that's where it's going none the less. This will be the second novel set in central Florida. One might deduce from that that I like Florida. Nothing could be further from the truth. I lived in Florida for several years and, other than being excited to wear shorts on Thanksgiving the first year, did not like it at all. For many reasons. But here I am having set my first two novels there. And the next one? Plans are for that to be set in Florida as well. Hmm.

The rule is "Write what you know." It's not "Write what you like." Do I know Florida better than anyplace else? No, I lived in Michigan longer and in Colorado longer than either. And I liked them both better than Florida. So why Florida? Maybe I'm working out something. Maybe it feels more menacing to me so I feel comfortable having bad things happen to my characters there. Again I say, "hmmm."

Where do you set your stories? Is it somewhere you know? I realize the answers will be very different for SF/F writers. But do the places feel familiar? Do you like the settings? Does it make a difference?


Jenny said...

I think it was Hemingway who said that you don't own a place until you leave it. I think that's some of the Florida writing.

Ali said...

Nearly a week -- Or, new post please?

Oz, the Mad said...

I set my stuff all in Colorado. It was a crazy-weird thing to realize that even when I was trying to write about a cattle-ranch in the plains on another planet, when I visualized the place I could still see the mountains in the distance, even though I was thinking to myself "flat."

Sort of weird. I only realized I did this when I went to Kansas and got vertigo because I had a three hundred sixty degree range of vision.