Process Post: Where is the story set in place and time?

I don’t know what the deal is, but I’ve been in several knock-down arguments with other writers about naming the places in their settings. 

Like, I’ll be lazy and not name a setting location sometimes. (I often forget to name POV characters, too; I don’t go around thinking, “My name is DeAnna” on a moment-by-moment basis.) But that’s mostly because naming things is hard. 

The part that’s weird to me is when authors don’t have any kind of reason not to name something, then freak out when they’re asked to name it. IT’S JUST THE PLACE WHERE THE SETTING IS! IT DOESN’T MATTER WHERE IT IS! THIS STORY COULD HAPPEN ANYWHERE!!!!

Let me tell you, though: not putting your setting in a specific location doesn’t make it universal! 

A small town in South Dakota isn’t a small town in Florida. It just isn’t. No matter how much you might want to have the story focus on interpersonal drama instead of setting, ignoring the setting doesn’t make the setting universal. 

It just shows that you think your biases are universal–and that you don’t understand that your readers want to go somewhere, even if it’s not a particularly pleasant location. 

If you’re trying to help the reader escape, give them a place to escape to. It can be a fictional place! But it’s really hard to escape to “that one town,” unless you’re in the Twilight Zone.

–If you can’t tell, I was really irritated while writing this section, and I needed to vent. WHEW. Thanks.

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