Since I’m still working on the same story I was talking about last week, LOL, I wanted to talk a bit about the setting for it, as well as the setting for the upcoming WHISPER.
WHISPER takes place in a slightly futuristic Chicago, though you wouldn’t know it’s slightly futuristic because I ended up ditching the futuristic transportation in lieu of an Uber-like service because it was more flexible than whatever crap I was going to do. Truth be told, Uber and Lyft didn’t exist when I got this idea in 2013.
So, why Chicago? If you’re thinking it’s my favorite city, you would be wrong. I like Chicago, but picked it because I needed a large city and wanted to pick one I’d been to in the summertime. The story takes place in early August. I know what Chicago is like in the middle of summer. I’ve only been to Boston and Baltimore in the fall, which were my other two contenders.
I probably could have set the story in Nashville, but it honestly didn’t even cross my mind. In addition to that, while there are big buildings in downtown Nashville, it’s nothing like the skyline in other metropolitan areas. Chicago most closely matched what I saw in my head and had the closest city vibe to what I was going for. Plus, summers in TN are wicked humid, and who wants to deal with that?
Speaking of my home state though, the current work-in-progress takes place in Franklin and Arrington. Arrington is about 15-20 outside of Franklin, which is about 20 minutes outside of Nashville. Other than a story I started and stopped around 2014, and a handful of more recent ideas that haven’t gotten off the ground yet, I haven’t set a story in my home state since middle school.
Yeah, I know, right?
But when I was younger, I always thought Tennessee was boring. Interesting people lived somewhere else. So I always based my stories somewhere else. Then one day an idea came to me that was set in Arrington. A different idea that’s still in the plot bunny field, but it opened the gate for more TN-based stories, and now I have a basket full of them. Franklin might be my second favorite place to set a story after Asheville, NC.
So, why is the current WIP set in TN? I’ll tell ya. It’s because this story feels like something I’ve dreamed about. It’s giving off some weird deja vu, and I love it. The neighborhood is modeled after the neighborhood I grew up in, though I’m spacing the houses out a little more. In addition, the house my character lives in is a near-exact copy of my neighbor’s house, minus the above ground pool in the backyard. I spent a lot of time in that house, and we used to always tell ghost stories at sleepovers. I don’t remember ever feeling afraid while in the house, but I couldn’t stop picturing it while I was brainstorming this story. Maybe this is a forgotten dream that I had while sleeping over?
Something about it feels very homegrown to me, so Middle TN it is. I didn’t grow up in Arrington, but I’m picking it for the setting because it’s is close to Franklin, which is where my main character works. Franklin has the right vibe for the story, so everything was a nice fit.
I also got to make up companies for a couple of the characters to work for. Main character Artemis works for Voltage Planet, an entertainment magazine. She’s a copyeditor. 😛
The following picture was actually taken at my old apartment during a flood, but look at all the trees!! This is a good example of the landscape I’m dealing with. 🙂