• Edie Montreux

Fictional Settings

I’m still working on the short story rewrite. It needs a lot of help. I wrote it in three weeks and revised one week before submitting. It was not ready. 

Last week, I realized the story’s missing something essential. It doesn’t have a setting. Each scene has a setting in a high-rise apartment building, or a bar across town, but descriptions of the city are vague.  


I live in Iowa. Not many cities in Iowa have Universities (there are three), and Lyft (we JUST GOT IT), and a museum of modern art (with modern, it’s zero).

I also do not see what other people see when asked to describe setting. I see snowflakes when I should pay attention to the snow plow. I find the one spot of nature in a densely populated area. I can look at a painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware and write 1,000 words about the chunks of ice in the river. (Seriously. I was in eighth grade and didn’t know that dude was famous.)

So: Clueless. Elf. Snowflake.


Part of my problem: I don’t see as well as I should. My eye doctor fucked up my glasses prescription. I see double when I’ve been wearing them too long.  Then he told me I need to wear my contacts less. (Then he asked me to recommend him on the BBB. NO.)

I also don’t travel as much as I should, and when I do, again, clueless elf snowflake. I take pictures of benches. And iron. And squirrels. 

To counter my deficiencies in travel and vision, I want to create a new fictional city, a suburb of Des Moines. There are already eight – what’s one more? Why? I don’t want to give people the impression I don’t know my own city (even though they would be right). Also, why not? Stephen King has Castle Rock. (And George R.R. Martin has Casterly Rock. Coincidence?)

I want to name my new suburb something catchy and with a hint of heritage. I grew up near the Amana Colonies, and this idea popped into my head while I was listening to songs from The Sound of Music. I chose the name Edelweiss. 


Instead of German heritage, they have Austrian heritage. Also, they don’t have restrictions on building high-rise apartments around a manmade lake the shape of a flower.  They have a museum of modern art, and a University, and anything else needed for this story.


See? You want to live there already.

Am I crazy for attempting this? Or will this give my story the depth it needs? Stay tuned for the next episode of Edie’s Going Quite Mad.