Real or imagined, a story must take place somewhere. Typical writing advice is to write what you know. I also tend to write who I am. I think for most writers, this can't be helped, as we each have a unique set of experiences to bring to the table. 

I am a creature of habit, and find comfort in familiar environments. This also happens to be true for the majority of characters I write. In my Bloodline books, my main character is blessed with a sprawling house, which serves as a continual setting throughout the story. In other novels, I showcase the Twin Cities, drawing on beloved (and sometimes not so beloved) parts of the city.

Any time I mention an "Uptown coffee shop," I'm referring to one in particular, although the name has escaped me. Many years ago, my friend Chad and I would frequent the small cafe to discuss writing. We'd occasionally sneak out to smoke a cigarette, as it seemed an appropriate act for aspiring writers. It was cliche, and wonderful, and a welcome memory to add to my fiction.

Setting doesn't need to be grandiose to be epic, or magical to make an impact—but it should allow your characters to be their truest selves. I can't remember the name of that Uptown coffee shop because it's really not that important in the grand scheme of things—the relationships built there, however, are something I'll never let go.

Michelle BredesonComment