Monday, June 9, 2014

How Not To Set A Story In Your Hometown

Today on My Pet Blog, we're pleased to be playing host to author Annalisa Crawford as she prepares to release her latest book.

Take it away, Annalisa...

Thanks to MJ for letting me loose on her blog today. I'm Annalisa Crawford, and my new book - Our Beautiful Child - is due out tomorrow. It's a collection of three novellas that were all, at one point, set in my home town.

Our Celtic Cross,
gateway to Cornwall
How not to set a story in your home town ...
... in 7 easy steps

1. Realise that no one has ever set a story in your home town and vow to do it

2. Write the story and add in lots of local interest detail - such as the Celtic Cross and the Royal Albert Bridge.

Royal Albert Bridge, known as the Brunel Bridge locally.

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Me and Ann Glanville, chilling

3. Decide that maybe some of the detail is too quirky and remove it - ie. we have a full-size model of Ann Glanville, a champion rower who died in 1880. If you press the button in the centre of her chest, she tells you all about her life!</ span>

4. Take the 12th</ sup> century castle on the edge of town, move it slightly and change it into a hotel because it makes for a better opening paragraph.

5. Take the bridge that forms a huge part of the plot, move it a lot, and give it a name.

6. Decide that because you've made these minor changes, it’s not really your town  and remove references to the major landmark - the Brunel Bridge, which would just confuse people now.

7. And finally, decide you need a town square, which your town doesn't actually have, and ‘borrow’ one from a nearby town.

Thanks for reading - I hope you've learned the best way not to set your story in your home town.

“The Boathouse collects misfits. Strange solitary creatures that yearn for contact with the outside world, but not too much. They sit, glass in hand, either staring at the table in front of them, or at some distant point on the horizon.” 

… so says the narrator of Our Beautiful Child. And he’s been around long enough to know.

People end up in this town almost by accident. Ella is running away from her nightmares, Sally is running away from the memories of previous boyfriends and Rona is running away from university. Each of them seek sanctuary in the 18th century pub, The Boathouse; but in fact, that’s where their troubles begin.

Ella finds love, a moment too late; Rona discovers a beautiful ability which needs refining before she gets hurt; and Sally meets the captivating Murray, who threatens to ruin everything.

Three women. Three stories. One pub.

Links:</ o:p>
Website</ span> // Blog // Twitter // Facebook</ span> // Pinterest // Add to Goodreads


  1. Great information. Your towns sounds really interesting though. The model of Ann Glanville would freak me out when it starts talking. Looking forwards to your release tomorrow.

  2. That's exactly how to do it. I always like reading those author prefaces that say something like, "This is set in Portland, but it's not really Portland, 'cause I had to fudge a bit." :-)

  3. Press the button in the center of her chest - that is just creepy!

  4. My hometown is really dull. I promise I won't set a story there. LOL

  5. The Ann Glanville statue is creepy but also hilarious to me.
    Can't wait to read this book. :)

  6. I'm laughing at Diane's comment. I'd consider setting a story in my hometown, but there isn't a 12th century castle.

    I also find the Ann Glanville statue hilarious and awesome. I need to go to your hometown, Annalisa.

  7. MJ - thanks so much for hosting me today! Castles are cool :-)

    Murees, Alex and Julie - There's a road directly opposite Ann Glanville, and several people in a drunken haze on their way home at night have been caught out thinking it's a real person sitting there!

    Steve - I've been more successful setting a story in the nearest city, I just haven't thought about publishing it yet.

    Diane - I thought my town was dull too, but there's always something you can make sound interesting to an outsider!

  8. Ha! That's funny. Your home town sounds a lot more interesting than mine. :)

  9. Fantastic guest post! Hehehe! You do have a quirky and interesting town.

  10. I love how easily we can bend things to fit a story. It's one of my favorite bits to writing. :-D

  11. Hehe! Great tips! And your town sounds so cool and interesting!

  12. Love that you've turned it into a fictitious town! That's for the best. Good luck with your book.

    Mary Montague Sikes

  13. Which is why I write fantasy. I can totally write about my own town, but since the story is set not in this world...

    Sounds like an interesting read.

  14. Sounds like a cool town to live in.

    My hometown was pretty much a lot of tract houses in the suburbs. Town square? What's that?

  15. This is why I just make up towns for my stories. Then I don't have to worry about being accurate. ;)

  16. Rachel, Christine and Cherie - I never even got as far as mentioning the guy who dresses up as Sir Francis Drake, and just wanders around town shopping etc, with his poor wife following behind. At Christmas, he's got the most gorgeous Santa costume.

    Misha - yes, I agree!

    Mary - it was an experiment, to begin with. Parts of it are very accurate - I'm curious to see if the people who live here recognise it.

    Liz and Patricia - making it up as you go along, because you realise you desperately need a bowling alley, can be easier :-)

    Karen - town square? Erm, it's an area, not necessarily square, usually with buildings facing onto it and a church and pub quite close, where traditionally markets and other town occasions take place

    Shelley - thanks for reading.

    I hope I haven't missed anyone :-)

  17. I LOVE Annalisa's guest post. Things never work out like you think they will, do they! Being adaptable is everything. Good luck, Annalisa!

  18. Annalisa - best of luck on your new release. I guess today's the day!

  19. Lexa - the town was a good starting point, but I needed more!

    Armchair Squid - thank you :-)

  20. Fun post, Annalisa! Your book sounds very interesting!

  21. how funny! great post and congrats, Annalisa!!

  22. LOL! This is great. Go Annalisa - so far I'm loving your blog tour! Major points for fun and originality.

  23. I think every book I write is set in my home town in some way. Except for the ones set in ancient Egypt, of course. ;)

  24. Hehe. With enough tweaking, anything can look like something else. Fun article!

  25. Had a great laugh and took notes.

  26. Ava, Tara and Liz - thank you!

    Holli - unless you lived in ancient Egypt in a past life?

    Loni - very true!

    C. Lee - lol, glad to of service.

    I was thrilled a couple of days ago I was followed by Ann Glanville's statue on Twitter. I just love the idea that someone has done that! I love my town :-)