This month I'm exploring names and their uses in writing. Today, in particular, I'd like to focus on names of places.
Whether you realize it or not, what an author chooses to call the name of a place does have an effect. It can be a way to steer a reader to or from a particular genre.
Kat and the U.S. Marshal by Celia Yeary is one example of a Western romance, accurately set in Old San Antonio, Texas.
Of course, there are exceptions to any rule and any genre. What comes to mind is the movie, Cowboys and Aliens, a surprising, yet successful combination of Western and science fiction, set in the 1873 Arizona Territory, yet featuring a strange combination of aliens, spaceships, Apaches, outlaws, a gold mine, and more.
For the most part, though, you want to stick with the name of a location that makes sense. For example, it wouldn't do to name a city Chicago, when the story actually takes place in England, or in a time period before America was even discovered.
There are countless workable possibilities for a Chicago, Illinois setting. I chose Chicago and its suburbs when I wrote the mystery, Two Wrongs, so I could include many Chicago area landmarks, such as the old Marshall Field's store, and also DePaul University, where I attended college and met my husband.
Again, while working as a secretary at a Chicago law firm, it was natural for me to choose that city as the location for my romantic suspense, Killer Career, about a lawyer who wants out of her profession.
There are countless other examples of towns and settings for novels that make sense.
I invite you to name one from either your own book or someone else's that you enjoyed, and share it with us in the comment section.
Morgan Mandel writes Thrillers, Mysteries and Romances, depending on her mood. She is a past president of Chicago-North RWA and prior Library Liaison for MWMWA.Her most current releases are the humorous romance, Her Handyman, & the thriller,Forever Young: Blessing or Curse.Coming soon is Blessing or Curse, second in the Always Young Trilogy.Find all her books at:MorganMandel.com