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Location, location, location

So far, all three of the manuscripts I've completed (I'm counting the current one, Floater, which is in revision status), have been set mostly in San Diego. I lived there for two years in the early 90s, and it's still one of my favorite cities. I enjoy writing about, and researching, the area.

Two books I started before Floater–but never finished–were set in northern Virginia (where I was living at the time). For some reason, I just couldn't get those stories off the ground. I wrote about 100 pages for each and didn't know what to do next.

I'm sure it's a coincidence that the two stories set in VA didn't work out. I'd like to think I could write a book set anywhere in the world. But, I have to admit, when I went back to the drawing board to start on Floater, I was back to San Diego again.

This time, I worked through the GMC, and made sure I had at least some idea of the major scenes and how the book would end. Even though I'm more of a pantser, I need some structure to hang the scenes on. I need the approximate destination, even if I don't know the route. My confidence has grown, and my understanding of what I have to do before I start writing has improved.

My brain is already fizzing with ideas for my next book, and it's set in Virginia again. Maybe.

I'm hoping the third time's a charm.

Tell your friends!


  1. Martha W


    Originally my paranormal was going to be set in Virginia. *lol* Then I opted for around here so that I could take pictures and make all kinds of notes on the site I wanted without spending a load of cash to visit. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending) I am very tactile when it comes to that. I like to actually stand in the spot, sit in the pub, etc…

    • Reply

      I’d love to be able to spend more time in San Diego! It’s funny, though, because that area seems easier to me than all of the parts of DC. Because of the political stuff, and because so many authors base books in DC, I feel like a lot more people will notice if I get something wrong. Weird, because I lived in Virginia twice as long as San Diego.

  2. Christine


    My third MS is set in VA as is my first. That’s where I lived. I also set my second one in BC, Canada. THen I found out that Canadian settings don’t sell! I guess it’s back to the drawing board on that one.

    Current WIP? AL-fake small town. But I’m rethinking it a bit.

    I know I am planning to put way more thought into the location/setting before I start the next book. Somewhere accessible would be great.

    • Reply

      Yeah. Ideally, I’d set my books where I live, but some cities I just can’t get excited about. 😉 San Diego fits my current MS with the DEA/Mexico connection, but I think Virginia/DC would make more sense for the next one.

      Sue Grafton’s fictional Santa Theresa is really Santa Barbara. Once I lived in the area, it was obvious. That’s another option. I used that trick for a small town near SLO in my current MS. That way I didn’t have to worry about anyone getting upset if I got it wrong, or changed things to work for the story. I also made up an island in the Pacific off the coast of Mexico. World building!

  3. Christine


    I am doing the same thing: fictional town in a state I live in with the hopes I don’t offend anyone 😉

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