Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Setting As A Character

The real impetus here is mainly so I can talk about Breaking Bad, because I love Breaking Bad like a crazy loving thing. But one thing I loved about the series (which numerous people have commented on) is the use of Albuquerque almost as a character in the story. The series was originally meant to be set in So Cal, but as luck would have it, New Mexico taxes are cheaper for shooting shows, so Vince Gilligan moved it there. And we're so glad he did, because I can't imagine the series NOT being in ABQ.

I love this, and it's great, because it highlights setting for contemporary fiction in a way that is usually reserved for fantasy. People love fantasy novels, partly because the world in which the story is set, functions as one of the most memorable and fun aspects of the book. People think of Narnia when they think of the Chronicles of Narnia. They think of Middle Earth when they think of LOTR. Discovering a new world can be a fantastic reading experience. But why can't we do that with contemporary fiction too? I think we can, and I think it makes the story stronger when we do. 

I say this because I consider Blueberry Bay in Door County, Wisconsin, to be very much a character in my book. It is romanticized in the eyes of my protagonist and plays a key role in her story unfolding throughout the book. In fact, this is one of those rare situations, where I came up with the setting before I came up with the story or the characters. But it's working out well so far, and I'm going to credit Breaking Bad for getting me thinking about this very important, very underutilized facet of YA contemporary novels. (It's used to great effect in Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone.)

25k words, as of today. Onward, we march.

*Also, shoutout to Cambridge Public Library for being AMAZING. Seriously, this place is so freaking well stocked, I feel like I'm in a fairy dreamland when I go there. I simply think of books I want to read, and the library HAS THEM. I mean, I have never tried to find a book that wasn't available. Including brand new releases, including originally published overseas novels. Best public library ever, and a phenomenal place to write.

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