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Strong Sense of Place

When writing, I'm very conscious of setting and how it both affects and interacts with the characters.  Setting for me is more than just background; it is backbone.  And before you purists throw up your hands and shout VOICE, let me add this:  I think setting can lift voice.  Feel free to discuss.

I'm so appreciative of the many reviews which mention Prosper County as a place they know even though it's fiction.  I also have been doing some school visits, and I love it when students and librarians comment on the smalltown setting.  When I hear that they feel like they've been to Big Wells and Prosper County, I know I've done my job (at least in part).

One of my favorite American authors, Eudora Welty, had this to say about setting: 
  
"Every story would be another story, and unrecognizable if it took up its characters and plot and happened somewhere else. . . Fiction depends for its life on place.  Place is the crossroads of circumstance, the proving ground of  What happened?  Who's here?  Who's coming?"

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about Welty's assertion.  Can you imagine Twilight taking place anywhere other than Forks?  How would the story have changed had the setting been different?  What about a classic like THE GREAT GATSBY and the idea of West Egg/East Egg/Wilson's Garage as "the crossroads of circumstance?"  Even consider the work of Jack London. 

Since I had such a good time with the previous blog giveaway.  How about another?  Let me know your favorite, "strong sense of place" YA novel.  I'll put your name in the Stetson for a signed hardback of THE SWEETHEART OF PROSPER COUNTY.  And a bonus:   A Sweetheart Crew t-shirt and bookmark.  Yes, it's the motherload of Sweetheart swag! 

Let the list-making begin! 

Here are a few of my "strong sense of place" quick picks (random and in no particular order):
TWILIGHT   Stephanie Meyer
WHEN THE WHISTLE BLOWS  Fran Cannon Slayton
THE GRAVEYARD BOOK  Neil Gaiman
AUTUMN WINIFRED OLIVER DOES THINGS DIFFERENT  Kristin O'Donnell Tubb
GHOST MEDICINE   Andrew Smith