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  • Writer's pictureEdie Montreux

Know Your Setting

Sorry for the delay, if you were truly waiting all weekend for this post. I could make a Good Friday, dead-until-Easter joke, but I won’t. You’re welcome. How did the three-days-dead thing work, anyway? If Jesus died on Friday at noon, but rose Sunday morning, that’s not even two whole days. Granted, dead is dead, and then not, but our Christian math sucks. “On the third day” means “a day-and-a-half later”?

No, I don’t intend to trash-talk Easter for the entire blog. However, if you wanted anything other than a bitch session, you may want to leave now.

I have a bone to pick with authors about setting. I’m doing a ton of research on 1992 Sarajevo. I’m writing a novella, and I want the details to be as close as I can get them. That’s what I get for picking a wartime setting.

On the treadmill last night, I was reading a book I bought to help a struggling author. I think I chose the wrong one from this author’s backlog. I’m slogging through the high-concept thriller plot. It’s not my usual or favorite genre to read. It’s like Dan Brown meets Mario Puzo on steroids. Worse, after the main character is tangled in the devious plot, he boards a plane to Iowa.

Let me tell you some facts about Iowa. First, there are five main airports in Iowa, not one. Second, there’s a whole Wikipedia page dedicated to Iowa airports. I found it in five seconds with one Google search. If you click the link, you’ll see there are many, many airports in Iowa. We are fly-over country, after all.

Some more fun facts about Iowa: This great state is home to 3.14 Million people in 947 cities, towns, and municipalities. A state is not a city. I get it, people don’t think twice about us, and some readers probably don’t even give a shit. I care. I would care even if the author had chosen Nebraska, or one of the Dakotas, Kansas, Montana, or Wyoming. I mean, shit, you want to pick on a state with no fucking people, Wyoming is the one. That state is huge, and only has 580,000 (I’m being generous by rounding) people. However, you don’t fly to “Wyoming” any more than you fly to “Iowa.” You don’t just land in a cornfield. We have airports for that. We’re not complete savages. (Right, Casper?)

I don’t care if you write thrillers on steroids or cozy mysteries, or even erotica in a red room of pain. If you’ve got a setting, please research it.

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