Setting is so important. The perfect setting can frame and showcase your characters' strengths and weaknesses. Your setting can add deep layers and meaning to the developing romance, heighten the sense of mystery and danger or accentuate heartwarming and heart-wrenching family dynamics. For me, nothing helps me achieve my writing goals like a small-town setting.
I'm fascinated by small-town dynamics…probably because I spent more than fifteen years as a community newspaper reporter and editor.
I love the dichotomy of citizens' public and private personas and how those differences fuel the gossip and "scandal" in communities, influence both personal and public decisions and, most important, impact personal relationships. These conflicts make for great tension in your writing, especially when they involve a hot hero and strong, sassy heroine.
There are three main reasons I enjoy writing, and reading, romances with small-town settings.
- The small-town setting lends itself to certain tropes and themes I enjoy. Forced proximity, conflict of interest, leaving home, returning home, reunion romances, bad boy/good girl, etc. The list is endless.
- The sense of community. Friends, family, personal history, gossip…I love all the characteristics (good and bad) of small towns and communities.
- Creative freedom. I create fictional towns, which means I'm not bogged down with a lot of research. I have complete control over my own little corner of the world. (The control freak in me loves this.)
Do you live in a small town?
Enjoy reading or writing romances with small-town settings? Why?
And, since this is my first post of the year, I'll take the opportunity to wish you all a fabulous 2013.
Here's to a successful year!