Monday, October 10, 2016

Writing about Small Towns

Most people love small towns.  I grew up in one, with about 300 people in the town, total.  It was about 20 minutes from 'civilization,' and out in the country.  People lived there either because they were too poor to live in town, had family or work obligations that required them to be in that area, or they really wanted to live out in the country, away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Here are a few things I've noticed about small towns, versus suburbs or cities:

  • Neighbors talk more
  • They're friendlier
  • Gossip runs rampant
  • Very little traffic
  • Neighbors know your business more than you want them to
  • The neighbors become lifelong friends, even if you move away
  • Kids in the neighborhood grow up together and consider the neighbor kids like more siblings

After thinking about the town I grew up in, I went to the Internet to see what others had to add.  Here's what I added, because it's also true:

  • They're quiet
  • Many emotions are bubbling under the surface, giving rise to genuine conflict
  • Everything seems personal
  • Fierce protectiveness of the townspeople
  • Harbor secrets
  • Everyone knows everyone
  • Newcomers are always newcomers (this is very true) and have to prove themselves
  • Easy to write about, and readers understand
  • They're isolated
  • Limited setting for writing
  • Family and being connected is everything
  • Local celebrities--the village idiot, the town floosie, the busybody, the alcoholic, etc.
  • Familiar activities:  bake sales, PTO, church community events, and even different cultural activities
  • The history of the place can play a big part of the town
  • It has personality

If you're writing about small towns and think they're boring, here are a few things people do in small towns:  40 Things People Who Live In Small Towns Do

If you don't want to use a town in existence, do like I do--make a fake town, city, or even an island.  Here's an article to do just that:  How to Create Your Own Fake Town

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Writing A Novel: The Appeal Of The Small Town Setting
40 Things People Who Live In Small Towns Do
The Excitement of a Small Town Setting
Guest post: Writing the Small Town by Lea Ryan
How to Create Your Own Fake Town
Reference for Writers: Settings and World Building

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