Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Is there no place like home?

I just finished reading Four Souls and the paperback offers a “P.S.” section including a biography and interview with the author. In those comments, Louise Erdrich mentioned that she usually writes about the people and land where she grew up. She states that she did not move away until she was 18 and says these are the people she knows.

I was 18 when I left home for college. For the first few years, whenever I’d return, I’d see the oak trees, the Spanish moss and knew I had to write a historical book about this area. I considered the landscape, the setting but did not think about using the people that are there.

Lately, I’ve been more enamored with setting stories in other places. Places that were not my hometown seemed a little more exotic or exciting but maybe I just see the possibilities of where I am at the moment. This morning, watching the sunrise, I could not believe I hadn’t put a character in Kansas yet.

I may have mentioned that I have a tendency to procrastinate—so while it’s very tempting to pull out the Civil War era-novel that I worked on, then ignored, then worked on, then ignored… I need to get the current one finished. However, maybe it’s time to just get a good draft of this one printed and set it aside and work on the other I’d set “back home” in Florida.

So many settings, so many stories…yet so many errands, laundry and dishes are waiting at the same time!

Rene has posted about this idea before (as have others) so some of you have answered the question already but for my writing friends: when you sit down to write, is there a certain place that has to be home to your characters? Or do your settings change with each story?

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