Where-ever they are, writers tend to look for ideas and settings they can use. I’ve been spending a disproportionate amount of time lately in inhospitable places, like waiting rooms. Which has led me to the conclusion that there are some places that are unlikely ever to feature as a setting in any novel I might write.
- Hospitals – I know these are very popular in books and on TV – I have even been known to watch a few of those, particularly ones with favourite actors in them, but as a main setting they are not for me. Short scenes, where necessary, yes – a whole book? No way.
- The great outdoors – There seems to be a high level of interest lately from some of my favourite authors for books that feature hero and heroine battling against the elements, using their survival skills to, well, survive. Again, not for me. And especially the great outdoors with creatures in it. Anything small and fluffy that will sit on your lap is fine – anything with more than four legs, or which is bigger than me and has sharper teeth – no.
- Sporting venues – Yes – there will probably be an upsurge in these, after the Olympics and I will be there, cheering them on, but I won’t be writing them. Anyone who once witnessed my attempts at school netball will perfectly understand this.
- Caves and other small spaces – although I must say that I am considering trapping a future hero in a coffin – but I will not be following the example of crime writer Peter James and experimenting myself. I can imagine all I need, thanks very much. Caves, being dark, wet and cold, at least in this country, tick all my boxes for places I do not want to be.
- Eras with no satisfactory indoor plumbing – this is a border line one, as I have to admit to having written historicals and hoping one day to write more. I don’t think I will ever be venturing into the historical based on real life characters – too much nitty-gritty to contend with.
As you will have gathered, I’m a fair weather romantic thriller writer – I like glamorous places, warmth, and comfort. Then I like to throw a spanner in the works, and watch my characters cope, in a setting that should be idyllic. I get the nice stuff, they get the headaches. Works for me.
We all have our preferences. I’m sure my ‘don’t go there’ list would be the top preferred locations for a lot of other writers. Being different is part of the fun of reading and writing.
So – anyone else have a setting to shudder at? Or is it just me than?