I have been sitting here–for too long, I must admit–trying to think of which character to introduce. Now that I’ve waited until periously close to time for a conference call with an editor and, following that, a football game my grandson’s playing in, I think I know who I want you to meet.
Readers, meet Setting. In my books, Setting is always pretty much the same. It might be Rural, which means having cornfields all around, back roads dotted twice a day with yellow school buses, and a little church on the corner. Or, if I’m feeling adventurous, it’s Small Town, with from none to four stoplights, a supermarket where they carry your groceries out for you, and station that will call you instead of the police if you forget to pay for your gas.
I don’t vary from these two Settings because these are the ones I love and am at home in. The reason I consider Setting a character is that it has so much importance. It’s been instrumental in making the protagonists and their story into what they are.
I get a little grief now and then, because there are those who feel my Settings aren’t realistic. I write about good cops, good clergy, and loving moms and dads more than I do the other sides of same coins. The truth is that I know all about those other sides, but I choose not to write about them. I’m fairly certain if I chose the Big City as my Setting, I would still have more good guys than bad. I’ve never considered Setting to be either a viable villain or hero, but it certainly does have its place in the cast of characters.