Oh hey, have I got a great new author for you! I first read Katie Lane’s Going Cowboy Crazy last summer. I giggled and snorted my way through the entire book. Then bought her next book, and her next….=) If you love small town romance and love mixed with laughter, check out Katie Lane’s books!
When I was younger, every summer my mother would pack me and my three siblings up in her Buick Le Sabre and take us back to the small Iowa towns of her youth. It was there, amid the corn fields and green pastures, that I first fell in love with small towns. There was something about the slow, simple pace and warm, friendly people that struck a chord with me. This innocent charm was why, when I sat down to write my first novel, I placed my characters in a small town in Iowa. Unfortunately, that book didn’t sell, but years later, another small town book of mine did. Going Cowboy Crazy became a bestseller and joined the ranks of thousands of bestselling books that are set in small towns. From Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird to Jill Shalvis’ Lucky Harbor series, this growing list proves that I am not the only one who enjoys the innocent charm of small towns. So how do you go about effectively writing small town fiction? Sorry to say, there is no guaranteed formula, but here are a few tips that will help:
1. Know your town. It does not matter whether you are writing from personal knowledge or just imagination, in order to make your town believable you need to know as much about it as you do a well-developed character. And not just what businesses are on Main Street, but what is your town’s principal income, weather, history? What makes it different from every other small town? Is there a curse hanging over it? Are there vampires living in the church bell tower? Or, as in the case of my town of Bramble, just a bunch of folks who are the worst matchmakers this side of the Pecos?
2. Pick only a few key townsfolk to represent the town. No matter how good you are at world building or writing dialogue with numerous characters chatting in one scene, readers can get confused and lose interest. I like to choose only a few characters to develop and do the majority of the talking. I mention other people from time to time and tell a little about them (Example: Elmer Tate who sleeps it off in jail when he gets drunk rather than go home to his wife and her mean right hook.) But, in the scenes with the townsfolk, I keep the conversation to three to four main characters.
3. Never let your townsfolk overshadow your story. If you do a good job of writing a small town, readers will come to love the people who inhabit it, but always remember that the townsfolk are only there to enhance the relationship between your hero and heroine. They can add humor, drama, and advance the external plot. They should not steal the show. This is romance we are writing after all, and if you end up with more scenes about the town drunk or the promiscuous waitress than about your heroine and hero, something is wrong!
Last but not least, enjoy your setting and characters. If you love sitting down at your computer everyday and traveling to your small town, readers are going to love it as well.
RU Crew – have you written a small town romance before? Do tell…
Join us on Wednesday when we meet new author and coffee addict, Donna Cummings.
Bio: Katie spends her days at a computer daydreaming, while the rest of the time she enjoys hanging with her family, reading, going to the gym, playing golf, motorcycle riding, traveling, or just snuggling next to her snoring prince. Every moment in life is a happily-ever-after just waiting to be fulfilled. You can visit Katie at her website.
- Weekly Lecture Schedule for March 26 – March 30, 2012
- Trish Milburn on Setting as Character
- Writing the SECOND Book with Susan Sey
- Sell it With Simplicity – Stylist Ashley Hammen with Fashion for RWA Conference
- When Arguments Are a Good Thing: Conflict in Dialogue by K.M. Weiland