Saturday, March 27, 2010
Where have you set your books and why?
I had a hard time deciding where to set my Ro Com, Love, Hollywood Style. At first, I figured—sure—it made sense to set it in Hollywood since it does take place at a Hollywood movie studio. But so many movies and TV shows are being filmed in other parts of the world these days because they get tax breaks that make it cheaper. There’s even a term for it: “runaway production.” Losing all this production is actually a serious problem in Los Angeles, because entertainment is a big part of the economy out here. But it was tempting to consider writing a book about Hollywood and setting it somewhere else.
Initially, I thought Vancouver would make for a nice setting. So much production is being done in Vancouver these days, like the TV shows Psych, Smallville, Life Unexpected, and Supernatural. But then I realized they were going to have the Olympics, and really Vancouver had enough going for it already. They didn’t need me to set my book there. So, I stuck with Hollywood. You know, for realism.
As I’ve mentioned before, I used to be a tour guide at a Paramount Pictures. The Hollywood studio in my book, Sovereign Studios, is modeled after my old workplace, though I changed it around considerably to make it fit into the needs of my story. But still, no matter how much I pictured Sovereign Studios while I was writing, memories of Paramount kept pushing into my mind. For instance…
The scene in the cafeteria reminds me of the Paramount cafeteria, which used to be the old RKO Studios rehearsal hall, where Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers came up with all their dance routines for the RKO movies.
The infirmary reminds me of the one on the Paramount lot that is in what we used to call “Star Trek Alley” because that’s where most of the Star Trek TV shows were filmed.
And the soundstage where I set the big finish will, in my mind, always be Paramount’s Stage 5, which is where they filmed The Brady Bunch in the seventies and Angel more recently. (Wouldn’t you have loved it if Angel could have gone back in time and staked cousin Oliver?)
Right now, I’m working on a couple projects that are set in San Francisco. As the other Ro Com authors have noted, it’s useful to have firsthand knowledge of a place you’re setting your stories. I’ve been to San Francisco twice since moving to California. Unfortunately, my visits don’t come in too handy for one of the projects because it’s set over two hundred years in the future. The challenge then becomes for me to decide what’s still there and what is brand new to the city.
The other project set in San Francisco does take place in the current century, and it’s the project that I’ve been teasing in this blog for months. I’m co-writing a new line of comic books based on the TV show Charmed. It’s my first time ever writing comic books, and I’m very excited about it. Though I am considering moving The Charmed Ones to Hollywood, just so I have a shorter commute to work. Driving to San Francisco every time I want to write a scene is murder.