Let’s talk about writing… or more specifically, creating fictional characters. Sure, your major character is very important – a veritable guide for your readers – maybe someone they will come to see as a new friend (or quite possibly, foe). Then there are your minor characters, potential friends (or foes) for your major one. Will they converse, fight, or possibly fall in love? They could experience a combination of all of these things throughout the written pages. Maybe one character adds comic relief, where another suffers from unrelenting angst. Depending on the former or latter; they’ll both provide your main character (and your readers) with laughter or headaches. Last (or maybe first, depending on how you write) is the importance of creating the right setting. It is the all-important but never even (that is, if you’re a good story teller!) playing field that these characters will all tread upon. That’s right! The setting is one of the most crucial components that a writer’s mind can dare create.
Settings, more particularly the fictional towns depicted in various TV shows, are an integral part to how successful, well-written characters can perform on the stage they were given. Let’s face it, even the best characters need to exist in the right place. Plenty of TV shows come to mind where the setting was as much, a couple maybe even more so, renowned than some of its characters. Here’s a few that I have watched, am watching or re-watching:
Mayberry – I’m pretty sure, whether you are young or old, you’ve heard of the Andy Griffith Show. Having watched or never watched (in real time, or reruns for me!) we’ve probably all heard of this fictional town. Set in North Carolina, it offered a slow paced lifestyle, perfect for Andy, Opie and Barney Fife, to portray the simple and funny parts of living in a small-town.
Stars Hollow – The quaint Connecticut town portrayed in Gilmore Girls was where Lorelai and Rory delivered their quick repartee as mother and daughter/best friends. Thanks to the New England setting, the scenery reflected the changing seasons. This added to, but never took away from the characters’ fast paced banter.
Sunnydale – A picturesque town in California, it was much more than it seemed. Better known as the Hellmouth (in a lot less horrific and more comical sense than it sounds), this town was mysterious and perky at the same time. The main character, cheerleader Buffy, used a perfect mix of humor and muscle while protecting this town. Sunnydale served as the ideal spot to tell the fun/fantastic tale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Storybrooke – What better place to tell stories about Fairytales? Once Upon a Time… Emma and Henry stumbled upon the small screen and this small town in Maine. As residents in this fantasy land, their lives have never been the same.
Bluebell – Another small town, this one was located in Louisiana. Its quaint quirkiness was perfectly suited for the petite, fast-talking New York Doctor, Zoe Hart, who relocated there in Hart of Dixie.
Rosewood – Set in Pennsylvania, the town is more than a secretive setting for the popular series Pretty Little Liars. Surely, the town is privy to the truth that evades us all as we watch Alison, Aria, Spencer, Hanna and Emily, deliver lie after lie. One of Rosewood’s biggest secrets – it’s the same set used for Stars Hollow in Gilmore Girls!
Charming – Oh, the simple irony! This California town (really – oh, not so charming!) saw a lot of blood from the retribution of Jax Teller and his band of un-merry men on Sons of Anarchy.
Mystic Falls – This town in Virginia may be even a little more sinister than its supernatural stars. From the many loves of Damon and Stefan Salvatore and the eventual (final???) goodbye of Elena Gilbert, it sure has seen its fair share of love triangles, deaths and resurrections. It’s the perfect backdrop for The Vampire Diaries.
Neptune – A kooky place in California that served as the tempting muse for inquisitive Veronica. She stuck her nose in so many of its dark corners and always came out with the story. There was no better place for her to spend her time investigating on Veronica Mars.
Capeside – Famous for a boy’s creek and plenty of teenage angst… that’s right, it was the show Dawson’s Creek. Dawson, Joey, Pacey and Jen, navigated the currents of adolescent hormones in this picturesque Massachusetts town.
So, I hope this has you thinking of settings and how important they really are. What are your favorite fictional towns? What would a fictional town you create look like? Whether it be: quirky, mysterious, dysfunctional, or a place of utopia, it will be exactly what you decide to make it – uniquely yours!