Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Creating a Fictional Town by Jannine Gallant

I'm giving away a book, so keep reading for details!
If you’re an author, do you set your stories in real or fictional towns? I do a little of both, using real towns or areas as the larger backdrop but having the majority of the action take place in a fictional town of my creation. You don’t get into trouble by mentioning real places this way. And no one can tell you, “Hey, you got that detail wrong!” Also, it’s just plain fun creating a town. In my Class of ’85 books, the editor for the series gave us a starting point in the fictional town of Summerville, New York located on the shores of Lake Ontario where the 25 year reunion of the class of ’85 would be held. The authors who wrote for the series filled in the details, chatting with each other on a group loop to keep all the facts straight. It was a great collaborative effort, and I think we were all very proud of the results.
Nothing But Trouble is my contribution to the Honky Tonk Hearts series. For this series, the editor gave us the Lonesome Steer Honky Tonk located on Route 66 on the outskirts of Amarillo, Texas and instructions to include at least one scene in the bar. That’s it. The rest was up to each individual author. I decided to create my own town on the Texas/New Mexico border, a forty-five minute drive from the honky tonk. Then, because I’d had so much fun collaborating on my first series, I put the word out that other authors were more than welcome to use my town of Redemption, Texas. Well, two took me up on the offer and started asking questions. Yikes! I actually needed to get organized beyond scribbled notes and handcrafted drawings. So, I made a list of all the businesses that would be included in my story and gave the town a history. Then, with the help of my daughter who thought I was incredibly lame, I made a map of my town using a paint file. The other authors gave me their input, and I added those businesses. I was able to send the files to them, and we all knew that the church was on Oak Street and the movie theatre on Main Street across from the Sunrise Café. Very, very cool.
 
Maybe you aren’t writing a story as part of a series with other authors, but you never know when you might want to create a sequel to your own book. Having all these details at your fingertips is a huge bonus. It saves time hunting through your original story to see if your heroine turned right or left to get to the store from her house. You may not remember, but trust me one of your readers will if you get it wrong! LOL
 
Today I’m giving away a PDF copy of Nothing But Trouble. Just leave a comment or send me an email at jannine @ janninegallant.com (without the spaces) to be eligible to win.
 
 

15 comments:

LisaRayns said...

I am intrigued by your explanation of the Honky Tonk Hearts series. What a fun way to create it.
I love the cover of this one too! Thanks for the giveaway! lisarayns(at)gmail.com

Margo Hoornstra said...

Laughed out loud to think your daughter might consider something you'd do lame. Nothing But Trouble is a great book. I certainly enjoyed it!

Nancy Jardine said...

Hi Jannine. I agree about the keeping track of details. Yes, someone will notice! Working with a group of authors to create that landscape sounds 'awsome' but for me would be constructive fun.

Jannine Gallant said...

Hi Lisa, the premise for the series was definitely fun. Thanks for visiting.

Jannine Gallant said...

Margo, she thinks most of what I do is lame, but my lack of tec knowledge on the computer iss way up there on the eye roll list!

Jannine Gallant said...

Nancy, definitely constructive fun. I checked my map a few times as there was a lot of movement around town throughout the book. Glad you could stop by our blog!

Alicia Dean said...

I almost always use fictional towns. They are fun to create and you don't have to be accurate, and you won't get in trouble if law enforcement has a dirty cop, or little things like that. :-)

Great post, Jannine. Great idea about keeping records of businesses and so forth. Since I do write some series books, I need to start doing that.

Best of luck on a wonderful story!

Jannine Gallant said...

Thanks, Alicia. I always get a little nervous when I have bad things happen in real towns. LOL Making the map was super helpful. I should have done it for A Deadly Love, too. Late in the story, I spent a lot of time searching through the manuscript to find out exactly where businesses were located in relation to each other. It was a total pain!

Jerri Hines said...

Love to get a 'glimpse' behind the scenes. Interesting to see you set up the town. Have to keep it in mind. Good idea with a map.

Jannine Gallant said...

Hi Jerri, of course any town you create would have the added complication of being historical. But I've always found that sort of research fun.

Regina Duke said...

I love the idea of fictional towns. I created one for The Wedding Wager, too. It's called Eagle's Toe, Colorado. Everything there is "eagle" and believe me, just about every other body part was covered! LOL Love the map idea, too!

Jannine Gallant said...

Regina, that's so funny. My fictional town in Bittersweet is Eagle Valley, Colorado. Must be something about the state that makes you think of Eagles!

Brenda Whiteside said...

I've yet to make up a town. Not sure why. I'll have to try that one of these times. Sounds like fun.

Jannine Gallant said...

Go for it, Brenda. You'll have fun.

Jannine Gallant said...

And the winner is - Lisa! Congrats, I'll send you your PDF copy of Nothing But Trouble. Hope you enjoy it.