The Fictional Cities

Barricade_rue_Soufflot_1848 horace VernetJoanna here.

I was writing the other day, trying to get a picture of the scene so I could decide just how close everybody had to be. My mind wandered off, thinking about how writers use scenery and all the nifty useful things they do with it. This did not, you understand, help me actually write, but it was a nice sneaky bit of procrastination.

Writers add scenery to a story so the characters are not floating around in an undifferentiated, moist white mist, which would be annoying for all concerned. We describe what the character sees and hears and touches and smells because it helps us reveal the interior of that person we're creating. It makes them real.

“When good Americans die, they go to Paris.” Oscar Wilde

2011 cafe attribjuliajansen

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The cock pub blackfriars street cc 2is3

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But then, if you’re lucky, the scenery goes off and acquires a personality all in itself.

 

When I put my people in Paris, I want the reader to feel the city all around. I want bakeries in the Marais with the smell of bread on the wind. I want cafe tables on the Left Bank.

“We'll always have Paris.”

I want London with its East End slums and the smell of dank fog rolling off the Thames. London with intimate, small alleys and cobbles underfoot.

London is too full of fogs and serious people. Whether the fogs produce the serious people, or whether the serious people produce the fogs, I don't know. Oscar Wilde


But I want more.
I create my people, hoping readers will like them and be intrigued by them. I spin them out of men and women I've known and fiction I've read and from little parts of myself. I make my cities the same way, from history books and old paintings, from fiction, from walking down their streets and from my imagination of them.

I grow fond of the cities I make. My fictional London with its Secret Spy Headquarters at Meeks Street and its Den of Thieves. My Paris with its winding alleys and places of stark and dangerous beauty. 

And in the end, when I give my characters to my readers, I find I also want to bring readers to my fictional city and the real city and say, “Dearest Reader, meet Paris. You two have so much in common. I’m sure you’ll have a lot to talk about. Paris, my dear, meet Reader.”

 

Do you know a city or town that seems almost alive? A place you’d like to set a story in so other folks could learn to love it?

115 thoughts on “The Fictional Cities”

  1. Your Meeks Street and other parts of London you describe are places I can see in my mind now. You have a wonderful gift for bringing your readers into your world, every place and its atmosphere really alive.
    I confess I strive to rise to your standard but it’s more than just the technical work, isn’t it? You have to live in it yourself and maybe concentrate the dose beyond the ‘normal’. Well, I’ve done a story set in Constantinople, very throroughly researched and lived, as it’s a city I love [being a Liverpudlian and fond of ferries darting to and fro to different parts of the city]. The reaction so far is ok. But there’s more to do and you will still be my model for creating atmosphere.

    Reply
  2. Your Meeks Street and other parts of London you describe are places I can see in my mind now. You have a wonderful gift for bringing your readers into your world, every place and its atmosphere really alive.
    I confess I strive to rise to your standard but it’s more than just the technical work, isn’t it? You have to live in it yourself and maybe concentrate the dose beyond the ‘normal’. Well, I’ve done a story set in Constantinople, very throroughly researched and lived, as it’s a city I love [being a Liverpudlian and fond of ferries darting to and fro to different parts of the city]. The reaction so far is ok. But there’s more to do and you will still be my model for creating atmosphere.

    Reply
  3. Your Meeks Street and other parts of London you describe are places I can see in my mind now. You have a wonderful gift for bringing your readers into your world, every place and its atmosphere really alive.
    I confess I strive to rise to your standard but it’s more than just the technical work, isn’t it? You have to live in it yourself and maybe concentrate the dose beyond the ‘normal’. Well, I’ve done a story set in Constantinople, very throroughly researched and lived, as it’s a city I love [being a Liverpudlian and fond of ferries darting to and fro to different parts of the city]. The reaction so far is ok. But there’s more to do and you will still be my model for creating atmosphere.

    Reply
  4. Your Meeks Street and other parts of London you describe are places I can see in my mind now. You have a wonderful gift for bringing your readers into your world, every place and its atmosphere really alive.
    I confess I strive to rise to your standard but it’s more than just the technical work, isn’t it? You have to live in it yourself and maybe concentrate the dose beyond the ‘normal’. Well, I’ve done a story set in Constantinople, very throroughly researched and lived, as it’s a city I love [being a Liverpudlian and fond of ferries darting to and fro to different parts of the city]. The reaction so far is ok. But there’s more to do and you will still be my model for creating atmosphere.

    Reply
  5. Your Meeks Street and other parts of London you describe are places I can see in my mind now. You have a wonderful gift for bringing your readers into your world, every place and its atmosphere really alive.
    I confess I strive to rise to your standard but it’s more than just the technical work, isn’t it? You have to live in it yourself and maybe concentrate the dose beyond the ‘normal’. Well, I’ve done a story set in Constantinople, very throroughly researched and lived, as it’s a city I love [being a Liverpudlian and fond of ferries darting to and fro to different parts of the city]. The reaction so far is ok. But there’s more to do and you will still be my model for creating atmosphere.

    Reply
  6. Oh, thank you so much.
    I’d love to spend some time in a truly ancient city like Constantinople. We tend to forget Byzantium ruled the known world for centuries. A city both beautiful and intricate in its fiber. It would be like visiting the home of a great lady of aristocratic lineage.
    I hadn’t known about the ferries in Liverpool — a place I’ve somehow managed to miss despite years living in the UK.

    Reply
  7. Oh, thank you so much.
    I’d love to spend some time in a truly ancient city like Constantinople. We tend to forget Byzantium ruled the known world for centuries. A city both beautiful and intricate in its fiber. It would be like visiting the home of a great lady of aristocratic lineage.
    I hadn’t known about the ferries in Liverpool — a place I’ve somehow managed to miss despite years living in the UK.

    Reply
  8. Oh, thank you so much.
    I’d love to spend some time in a truly ancient city like Constantinople. We tend to forget Byzantium ruled the known world for centuries. A city both beautiful and intricate in its fiber. It would be like visiting the home of a great lady of aristocratic lineage.
    I hadn’t known about the ferries in Liverpool — a place I’ve somehow managed to miss despite years living in the UK.

    Reply
  9. Oh, thank you so much.
    I’d love to spend some time in a truly ancient city like Constantinople. We tend to forget Byzantium ruled the known world for centuries. A city both beautiful and intricate in its fiber. It would be like visiting the home of a great lady of aristocratic lineage.
    I hadn’t known about the ferries in Liverpool — a place I’ve somehow managed to miss despite years living in the UK.

    Reply
  10. Oh, thank you so much.
    I’d love to spend some time in a truly ancient city like Constantinople. We tend to forget Byzantium ruled the known world for centuries. A city both beautiful and intricate in its fiber. It would be like visiting the home of a great lady of aristocratic lineage.
    I hadn’t known about the ferries in Liverpool — a place I’ve somehow managed to miss despite years living in the UK.

    Reply
  11. Your characters and description of the scenes stand out so vividly and I know a lot of imagination and creativity has gone into it. That is the reason why I start reading them and cannot put it down. I lived in Mumbai and every time I go back I feel the pulse of the city. It throbs with the desires, hopes, and anxiety of its teeming people. Always rushing, trying to get more done than there are hours in a day. The smell of food cooking, the jasmine flours that women wear hangs in the humidity along with petrol fumes and disinfectant. But best of all the clever, hard-working people from all walks of life that make the city.

    Reply
  12. Your characters and description of the scenes stand out so vividly and I know a lot of imagination and creativity has gone into it. That is the reason why I start reading them and cannot put it down. I lived in Mumbai and every time I go back I feel the pulse of the city. It throbs with the desires, hopes, and anxiety of its teeming people. Always rushing, trying to get more done than there are hours in a day. The smell of food cooking, the jasmine flours that women wear hangs in the humidity along with petrol fumes and disinfectant. But best of all the clever, hard-working people from all walks of life that make the city.

    Reply
  13. Your characters and description of the scenes stand out so vividly and I know a lot of imagination and creativity has gone into it. That is the reason why I start reading them and cannot put it down. I lived in Mumbai and every time I go back I feel the pulse of the city. It throbs with the desires, hopes, and anxiety of its teeming people. Always rushing, trying to get more done than there are hours in a day. The smell of food cooking, the jasmine flours that women wear hangs in the humidity along with petrol fumes and disinfectant. But best of all the clever, hard-working people from all walks of life that make the city.

    Reply
  14. Your characters and description of the scenes stand out so vividly and I know a lot of imagination and creativity has gone into it. That is the reason why I start reading them and cannot put it down. I lived in Mumbai and every time I go back I feel the pulse of the city. It throbs with the desires, hopes, and anxiety of its teeming people. Always rushing, trying to get more done than there are hours in a day. The smell of food cooking, the jasmine flours that women wear hangs in the humidity along with petrol fumes and disinfectant. But best of all the clever, hard-working people from all walks of life that make the city.

    Reply
  15. Your characters and description of the scenes stand out so vividly and I know a lot of imagination and creativity has gone into it. That is the reason why I start reading them and cannot put it down. I lived in Mumbai and every time I go back I feel the pulse of the city. It throbs with the desires, hopes, and anxiety of its teeming people. Always rushing, trying to get more done than there are hours in a day. The smell of food cooking, the jasmine flours that women wear hangs in the humidity along with petrol fumes and disinfectant. But best of all the clever, hard-working people from all walks of life that make the city.

    Reply
  16. I’m not a traveler. More a stay in my own country type. However, I was in Bath last September for the festival and I thought it was a most beautiful city. Now when I read Austen’s novels or books set there I can immediately see every place in my minds eye. I love how writers describe places. I close my eyes and try to see it. I travel through my reading and that’s enough for me.

    Reply
  17. I’m not a traveler. More a stay in my own country type. However, I was in Bath last September for the festival and I thought it was a most beautiful city. Now when I read Austen’s novels or books set there I can immediately see every place in my minds eye. I love how writers describe places. I close my eyes and try to see it. I travel through my reading and that’s enough for me.

    Reply
  18. I’m not a traveler. More a stay in my own country type. However, I was in Bath last September for the festival and I thought it was a most beautiful city. Now when I read Austen’s novels or books set there I can immediately see every place in my minds eye. I love how writers describe places. I close my eyes and try to see it. I travel through my reading and that’s enough for me.

    Reply
  19. I’m not a traveler. More a stay in my own country type. However, I was in Bath last September for the festival and I thought it was a most beautiful city. Now when I read Austen’s novels or books set there I can immediately see every place in my minds eye. I love how writers describe places. I close my eyes and try to see it. I travel through my reading and that’s enough for me.

    Reply
  20. I’m not a traveler. More a stay in my own country type. However, I was in Bath last September for the festival and I thought it was a most beautiful city. Now when I read Austen’s novels or books set there I can immediately see every place in my minds eye. I love how writers describe places. I close my eyes and try to see it. I travel through my reading and that’s enough for me.

    Reply
  21. I’ve been thinking about this, and it seems to me that the most vivid places in my memory are ones I have read about, whether it’s the village of St. Mary Mead or Tang-era China, whether I’m floating on a raft on the Mississippi or riding in a Hansom cab through the fog of Edwardian London. So I think all the authors who have taken me to those place.

    Reply
  22. I’ve been thinking about this, and it seems to me that the most vivid places in my memory are ones I have read about, whether it’s the village of St. Mary Mead or Tang-era China, whether I’m floating on a raft on the Mississippi or riding in a Hansom cab through the fog of Edwardian London. So I think all the authors who have taken me to those place.

    Reply
  23. I’ve been thinking about this, and it seems to me that the most vivid places in my memory are ones I have read about, whether it’s the village of St. Mary Mead or Tang-era China, whether I’m floating on a raft on the Mississippi or riding in a Hansom cab through the fog of Edwardian London. So I think all the authors who have taken me to those place.

    Reply
  24. I’ve been thinking about this, and it seems to me that the most vivid places in my memory are ones I have read about, whether it’s the village of St. Mary Mead or Tang-era China, whether I’m floating on a raft on the Mississippi or riding in a Hansom cab through the fog of Edwardian London. So I think all the authors who have taken me to those place.

    Reply
  25. I’ve been thinking about this, and it seems to me that the most vivid places in my memory are ones I have read about, whether it’s the village of St. Mary Mead or Tang-era China, whether I’m floating on a raft on the Mississippi or riding in a Hansom cab through the fog of Edwardian London. So I think all the authors who have taken me to those place.

    Reply
  26. I don’t truly have a favorite city. I love the “seeing” the places that author’s take me tol
    But sometimes I wonder. As I often mention, I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri — typically midwest (at least on the surface) and seen by many people as somewhat boring and mundane. Do you authors ever write a city like that and make it more interesting?
    There is a historical novel by the American Winston Churchill set in Civil War St. Louis (The Crisis). And a current mystery writer M. R. Sellars has a series of mysteries set there. And I think maybe Thomas Harris brought Hannibal Lector there once.

    Reply
  27. I don’t truly have a favorite city. I love the “seeing” the places that author’s take me tol
    But sometimes I wonder. As I often mention, I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri — typically midwest (at least on the surface) and seen by many people as somewhat boring and mundane. Do you authors ever write a city like that and make it more interesting?
    There is a historical novel by the American Winston Churchill set in Civil War St. Louis (The Crisis). And a current mystery writer M. R. Sellars has a series of mysteries set there. And I think maybe Thomas Harris brought Hannibal Lector there once.

    Reply
  28. I don’t truly have a favorite city. I love the “seeing” the places that author’s take me tol
    But sometimes I wonder. As I often mention, I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri — typically midwest (at least on the surface) and seen by many people as somewhat boring and mundane. Do you authors ever write a city like that and make it more interesting?
    There is a historical novel by the American Winston Churchill set in Civil War St. Louis (The Crisis). And a current mystery writer M. R. Sellars has a series of mysteries set there. And I think maybe Thomas Harris brought Hannibal Lector there once.

    Reply
  29. I don’t truly have a favorite city. I love the “seeing” the places that author’s take me tol
    But sometimes I wonder. As I often mention, I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri — typically midwest (at least on the surface) and seen by many people as somewhat boring and mundane. Do you authors ever write a city like that and make it more interesting?
    There is a historical novel by the American Winston Churchill set in Civil War St. Louis (The Crisis). And a current mystery writer M. R. Sellars has a series of mysteries set there. And I think maybe Thomas Harris brought Hannibal Lector there once.

    Reply
  30. I don’t truly have a favorite city. I love the “seeing” the places that author’s take me tol
    But sometimes I wonder. As I often mention, I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri — typically midwest (at least on the surface) and seen by many people as somewhat boring and mundane. Do you authors ever write a city like that and make it more interesting?
    There is a historical novel by the American Winston Churchill set in Civil War St. Louis (The Crisis). And a current mystery writer M. R. Sellars has a series of mysteries set there. And I think maybe Thomas Harris brought Hannibal Lector there once.

    Reply
  31. New Orleans has a fabulous personality. My Bayou Gavotte books are based partly on New Orleans and partly on a small town not far from there — so my fictional city is sort of a combo of the two, with some magic mixed in.
    I think Oxford’s atmosphere would work well in fiction. I loved it both in real life and in Dorothy Sayers’ Gaudy Night. I adore your London and Paris. I wish I could spend a few months in present-day Paris! (Not the Paris of 1793… well, maybe as a fly on the wall.) I imagine Rome would be exciting, too. I certainly love reading books about Ancient Rome, and Roman Britain, too, when London was just beginning.
    Oh — C.S. Harris does a great job of evoking Regency London — cold, damp, dark, smoky, brrr! LOL.

    Reply
  32. New Orleans has a fabulous personality. My Bayou Gavotte books are based partly on New Orleans and partly on a small town not far from there — so my fictional city is sort of a combo of the two, with some magic mixed in.
    I think Oxford’s atmosphere would work well in fiction. I loved it both in real life and in Dorothy Sayers’ Gaudy Night. I adore your London and Paris. I wish I could spend a few months in present-day Paris! (Not the Paris of 1793… well, maybe as a fly on the wall.) I imagine Rome would be exciting, too. I certainly love reading books about Ancient Rome, and Roman Britain, too, when London was just beginning.
    Oh — C.S. Harris does a great job of evoking Regency London — cold, damp, dark, smoky, brrr! LOL.

    Reply
  33. New Orleans has a fabulous personality. My Bayou Gavotte books are based partly on New Orleans and partly on a small town not far from there — so my fictional city is sort of a combo of the two, with some magic mixed in.
    I think Oxford’s atmosphere would work well in fiction. I loved it both in real life and in Dorothy Sayers’ Gaudy Night. I adore your London and Paris. I wish I could spend a few months in present-day Paris! (Not the Paris of 1793… well, maybe as a fly on the wall.) I imagine Rome would be exciting, too. I certainly love reading books about Ancient Rome, and Roman Britain, too, when London was just beginning.
    Oh — C.S. Harris does a great job of evoking Regency London — cold, damp, dark, smoky, brrr! LOL.

    Reply
  34. New Orleans has a fabulous personality. My Bayou Gavotte books are based partly on New Orleans and partly on a small town not far from there — so my fictional city is sort of a combo of the two, with some magic mixed in.
    I think Oxford’s atmosphere would work well in fiction. I loved it both in real life and in Dorothy Sayers’ Gaudy Night. I adore your London and Paris. I wish I could spend a few months in present-day Paris! (Not the Paris of 1793… well, maybe as a fly on the wall.) I imagine Rome would be exciting, too. I certainly love reading books about Ancient Rome, and Roman Britain, too, when London was just beginning.
    Oh — C.S. Harris does a great job of evoking Regency London — cold, damp, dark, smoky, brrr! LOL.

    Reply
  35. New Orleans has a fabulous personality. My Bayou Gavotte books are based partly on New Orleans and partly on a small town not far from there — so my fictional city is sort of a combo of the two, with some magic mixed in.
    I think Oxford’s atmosphere would work well in fiction. I loved it both in real life and in Dorothy Sayers’ Gaudy Night. I adore your London and Paris. I wish I could spend a few months in present-day Paris! (Not the Paris of 1793… well, maybe as a fly on the wall.) I imagine Rome would be exciting, too. I certainly love reading books about Ancient Rome, and Roman Britain, too, when London was just beginning.
    Oh — C.S. Harris does a great job of evoking Regency London — cold, damp, dark, smoky, brrr! LOL.

    Reply
  36. There are several larger cities I believe are lovely and wonderful. But, when I read your question, the first place that came to mind, was Pella Iowa. It was established in 1847 by people who wanted to recreate Holland. And they have. It is small, only about 10,000 or so people. If you go in the spring you will see tulips. If you look at the town square, you will see a European town center.
    I realize it is small. In most ways, it does not compare to New Orleans, San Francisco or other lovely cities. But, I have always wondered about the people who settled there. I have wondered what they left behind when they came on such a journey. I admire the courage it took to leave a world you knew and start an entire new world.
    To all the explorers, I salute you.

    Reply
  37. There are several larger cities I believe are lovely and wonderful. But, when I read your question, the first place that came to mind, was Pella Iowa. It was established in 1847 by people who wanted to recreate Holland. And they have. It is small, only about 10,000 or so people. If you go in the spring you will see tulips. If you look at the town square, you will see a European town center.
    I realize it is small. In most ways, it does not compare to New Orleans, San Francisco or other lovely cities. But, I have always wondered about the people who settled there. I have wondered what they left behind when they came on such a journey. I admire the courage it took to leave a world you knew and start an entire new world.
    To all the explorers, I salute you.

    Reply
  38. There are several larger cities I believe are lovely and wonderful. But, when I read your question, the first place that came to mind, was Pella Iowa. It was established in 1847 by people who wanted to recreate Holland. And they have. It is small, only about 10,000 or so people. If you go in the spring you will see tulips. If you look at the town square, you will see a European town center.
    I realize it is small. In most ways, it does not compare to New Orleans, San Francisco or other lovely cities. But, I have always wondered about the people who settled there. I have wondered what they left behind when they came on such a journey. I admire the courage it took to leave a world you knew and start an entire new world.
    To all the explorers, I salute you.

    Reply
  39. There are several larger cities I believe are lovely and wonderful. But, when I read your question, the first place that came to mind, was Pella Iowa. It was established in 1847 by people who wanted to recreate Holland. And they have. It is small, only about 10,000 or so people. If you go in the spring you will see tulips. If you look at the town square, you will see a European town center.
    I realize it is small. In most ways, it does not compare to New Orleans, San Francisco or other lovely cities. But, I have always wondered about the people who settled there. I have wondered what they left behind when they came on such a journey. I admire the courage it took to leave a world you knew and start an entire new world.
    To all the explorers, I salute you.

    Reply
  40. There are several larger cities I believe are lovely and wonderful. But, when I read your question, the first place that came to mind, was Pella Iowa. It was established in 1847 by people who wanted to recreate Holland. And they have. It is small, only about 10,000 or so people. If you go in the spring you will see tulips. If you look at the town square, you will see a European town center.
    I realize it is small. In most ways, it does not compare to New Orleans, San Francisco or other lovely cities. But, I have always wondered about the people who settled there. I have wondered what they left behind when they came on such a journey. I admire the courage it took to leave a world you knew and start an entire new world.
    To all the explorers, I salute you.

    Reply
  41. Starting this morning I am doing the very copyedits of Beauty Like the Night.
    From my point of view this is swinging into the home stretch. From the publisher’s point of view this is about halfway along what has to be done by them. And from the readers’ point of view this is (jo counts on her fingers) six months before release.
    There are a couple ways an author’s view of the book is different from the reader’s. I get asked about some detail in a book and I have to go excavating deep in the memory. It might be eight or nine years since I’ve read it.
    If I could go back and change anything in the last years, it would be my record keeping. I should have taken book notes.
    I’m feeling that right now as I try to remember what color William Doyle’s eyes are. *g*

    Reply
  42. Starting this morning I am doing the very copyedits of Beauty Like the Night.
    From my point of view this is swinging into the home stretch. From the publisher’s point of view this is about halfway along what has to be done by them. And from the readers’ point of view this is (jo counts on her fingers) six months before release.
    There are a couple ways an author’s view of the book is different from the reader’s. I get asked about some detail in a book and I have to go excavating deep in the memory. It might be eight or nine years since I’ve read it.
    If I could go back and change anything in the last years, it would be my record keeping. I should have taken book notes.
    I’m feeling that right now as I try to remember what color William Doyle’s eyes are. *g*

    Reply
  43. Starting this morning I am doing the very copyedits of Beauty Like the Night.
    From my point of view this is swinging into the home stretch. From the publisher’s point of view this is about halfway along what has to be done by them. And from the readers’ point of view this is (jo counts on her fingers) six months before release.
    There are a couple ways an author’s view of the book is different from the reader’s. I get asked about some detail in a book and I have to go excavating deep in the memory. It might be eight or nine years since I’ve read it.
    If I could go back and change anything in the last years, it would be my record keeping. I should have taken book notes.
    I’m feeling that right now as I try to remember what color William Doyle’s eyes are. *g*

    Reply
  44. Starting this morning I am doing the very copyedits of Beauty Like the Night.
    From my point of view this is swinging into the home stretch. From the publisher’s point of view this is about halfway along what has to be done by them. And from the readers’ point of view this is (jo counts on her fingers) six months before release.
    There are a couple ways an author’s view of the book is different from the reader’s. I get asked about some detail in a book and I have to go excavating deep in the memory. It might be eight or nine years since I’ve read it.
    If I could go back and change anything in the last years, it would be my record keeping. I should have taken book notes.
    I’m feeling that right now as I try to remember what color William Doyle’s eyes are. *g*

    Reply
  45. Starting this morning I am doing the very copyedits of Beauty Like the Night.
    From my point of view this is swinging into the home stretch. From the publisher’s point of view this is about halfway along what has to be done by them. And from the readers’ point of view this is (jo counts on her fingers) six months before release.
    There are a couple ways an author’s view of the book is different from the reader’s. I get asked about some detail in a book and I have to go excavating deep in the memory. It might be eight or nine years since I’ve read it.
    If I could go back and change anything in the last years, it would be my record keeping. I should have taken book notes.
    I’m feeling that right now as I try to remember what color William Doyle’s eyes are. *g*

    Reply
  46. Oh yes – New Orleans is the city for me. Love reading about and researching it. Love stories from any era set there. I love to visit as well.
    I also agree on C.S. Harris – you described them perfectly.

    Reply
  47. Oh yes – New Orleans is the city for me. Love reading about and researching it. Love stories from any era set there. I love to visit as well.
    I also agree on C.S. Harris – you described them perfectly.

    Reply
  48. Oh yes – New Orleans is the city for me. Love reading about and researching it. Love stories from any era set there. I love to visit as well.
    I also agree on C.S. Harris – you described them perfectly.

    Reply
  49. Oh yes – New Orleans is the city for me. Love reading about and researching it. Love stories from any era set there. I love to visit as well.
    I also agree on C.S. Harris – you described them perfectly.

    Reply
  50. Oh yes – New Orleans is the city for me. Love reading about and researching it. Love stories from any era set there. I love to visit as well.
    I also agree on C.S. Harris – you described them perfectly.

    Reply
  51. Oh. I agree with you on all three. New Orleans is everything a city should be — beautiful, complex, full of art, dangerous. I have done no more than visit, but I could see loving the place.
    CS Harris (of course) is one of my favorite authors. I hadn’t thought about her London, but now that you bring it up, I see it. I see it.
    I also want to revisit Oxford, now that I’m more than adult and have had time to read so many stories set there. They do a Sayer’s tour, I understand, and show you the bridge where Harriet and Peter kissed.
    Sayers’ love of Oxford just vibrates through that story.

    Reply
  52. Oh. I agree with you on all three. New Orleans is everything a city should be — beautiful, complex, full of art, dangerous. I have done no more than visit, but I could see loving the place.
    CS Harris (of course) is one of my favorite authors. I hadn’t thought about her London, but now that you bring it up, I see it. I see it.
    I also want to revisit Oxford, now that I’m more than adult and have had time to read so many stories set there. They do a Sayer’s tour, I understand, and show you the bridge where Harriet and Peter kissed.
    Sayers’ love of Oxford just vibrates through that story.

    Reply
  53. Oh. I agree with you on all three. New Orleans is everything a city should be — beautiful, complex, full of art, dangerous. I have done no more than visit, but I could see loving the place.
    CS Harris (of course) is one of my favorite authors. I hadn’t thought about her London, but now that you bring it up, I see it. I see it.
    I also want to revisit Oxford, now that I’m more than adult and have had time to read so many stories set there. They do a Sayer’s tour, I understand, and show you the bridge where Harriet and Peter kissed.
    Sayers’ love of Oxford just vibrates through that story.

    Reply
  54. Oh. I agree with you on all three. New Orleans is everything a city should be — beautiful, complex, full of art, dangerous. I have done no more than visit, but I could see loving the place.
    CS Harris (of course) is one of my favorite authors. I hadn’t thought about her London, but now that you bring it up, I see it. I see it.
    I also want to revisit Oxford, now that I’m more than adult and have had time to read so many stories set there. They do a Sayer’s tour, I understand, and show you the bridge where Harriet and Peter kissed.
    Sayers’ love of Oxford just vibrates through that story.

    Reply
  55. Oh. I agree with you on all three. New Orleans is everything a city should be — beautiful, complex, full of art, dangerous. I have done no more than visit, but I could see loving the place.
    CS Harris (of course) is one of my favorite authors. I hadn’t thought about her London, but now that you bring it up, I see it. I see it.
    I also want to revisit Oxford, now that I’m more than adult and have had time to read so many stories set there. They do a Sayer’s tour, I understand, and show you the bridge where Harriet and Peter kissed.
    Sayers’ love of Oxford just vibrates through that story.

    Reply
  56. Chekhov said, “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
    The city is kinda the “broken glass” in that metaphor. We illuminate emotional truth on the face of the city, run our action through the streets, let the city speak for our characters. When Batman stands on the roof looking out over Gotham there’s communion between the two.

    Reply
  57. Chekhov said, “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
    The city is kinda the “broken glass” in that metaphor. We illuminate emotional truth on the face of the city, run our action through the streets, let the city speak for our characters. When Batman stands on the roof looking out over Gotham there’s communion between the two.

    Reply
  58. Chekhov said, “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
    The city is kinda the “broken glass” in that metaphor. We illuminate emotional truth on the face of the city, run our action through the streets, let the city speak for our characters. When Batman stands on the roof looking out over Gotham there’s communion between the two.

    Reply
  59. Chekhov said, “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
    The city is kinda the “broken glass” in that metaphor. We illuminate emotional truth on the face of the city, run our action through the streets, let the city speak for our characters. When Batman stands on the roof looking out over Gotham there’s communion between the two.

    Reply
  60. Chekhov said, “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
    The city is kinda the “broken glass” in that metaphor. We illuminate emotional truth on the face of the city, run our action through the streets, let the city speak for our characters. When Batman stands on the roof looking out over Gotham there’s communion between the two.

    Reply
  61. Lovely, evocative description.
    The best cities are created in their contrasts. One long hard look below the surface and we see another city. And another. Every one of them real and true.
    That’s part of the writer’s job, I feel. To look not just at the simple appearance but at the truth underneath. Nowhere more needed than when we create our setting. Our city.

    Reply
  62. Lovely, evocative description.
    The best cities are created in their contrasts. One long hard look below the surface and we see another city. And another. Every one of them real and true.
    That’s part of the writer’s job, I feel. To look not just at the simple appearance but at the truth underneath. Nowhere more needed than when we create our setting. Our city.

    Reply
  63. Lovely, evocative description.
    The best cities are created in their contrasts. One long hard look below the surface and we see another city. And another. Every one of them real and true.
    That’s part of the writer’s job, I feel. To look not just at the simple appearance but at the truth underneath. Nowhere more needed than when we create our setting. Our city.

    Reply
  64. Lovely, evocative description.
    The best cities are created in their contrasts. One long hard look below the surface and we see another city. And another. Every one of them real and true.
    That’s part of the writer’s job, I feel. To look not just at the simple appearance but at the truth underneath. Nowhere more needed than when we create our setting. Our city.

    Reply
  65. Lovely, evocative description.
    The best cities are created in their contrasts. One long hard look below the surface and we see another city. And another. Every one of them real and true.
    That’s part of the writer’s job, I feel. To look not just at the simple appearance but at the truth underneath. Nowhere more needed than when we create our setting. Our city.

    Reply
  66. I don’t care much for the real Los Angeles-so sprawling and congested with traffic. But the fictional LA of noir detective novels, like Raymond Chandler and Walter Mosley; that’s the one I love.

    Reply
  67. I don’t care much for the real Los Angeles-so sprawling and congested with traffic. But the fictional LA of noir detective novels, like Raymond Chandler and Walter Mosley; that’s the one I love.

    Reply
  68. I don’t care much for the real Los Angeles-so sprawling and congested with traffic. But the fictional LA of noir detective novels, like Raymond Chandler and Walter Mosley; that’s the one I love.

    Reply
  69. I don’t care much for the real Los Angeles-so sprawling and congested with traffic. But the fictional LA of noir detective novels, like Raymond Chandler and Walter Mosley; that’s the one I love.

    Reply
  70. I don’t care much for the real Los Angeles-so sprawling and congested with traffic. But the fictional LA of noir detective novels, like Raymond Chandler and Walter Mosley; that’s the one I love.

    Reply
  71. I cannot count the cities I prefer in fiction to real life.
    (jo thinks it over)
    In fact, that may be ALL cities. I do rather prefer to see the great urban centers in books where they are full of magic and adventure. Real life is somehow full of figuring out underground/subway/bus maps and never having the right change.
    Do we get stick-in-the-mud as we get older? I’ll have to do some travel and get over that, won’t I?
    I agree with you about Los Angeles. I guess I mostly know the beach part of it — those little towns (and they are almost separate little towns) up and down the coast.
    It’s been many years, but I did enjoy them when I was there.

    Reply
  72. I cannot count the cities I prefer in fiction to real life.
    (jo thinks it over)
    In fact, that may be ALL cities. I do rather prefer to see the great urban centers in books where they are full of magic and adventure. Real life is somehow full of figuring out underground/subway/bus maps and never having the right change.
    Do we get stick-in-the-mud as we get older? I’ll have to do some travel and get over that, won’t I?
    I agree with you about Los Angeles. I guess I mostly know the beach part of it — those little towns (and they are almost separate little towns) up and down the coast.
    It’s been many years, but I did enjoy them when I was there.

    Reply
  73. I cannot count the cities I prefer in fiction to real life.
    (jo thinks it over)
    In fact, that may be ALL cities. I do rather prefer to see the great urban centers in books where they are full of magic and adventure. Real life is somehow full of figuring out underground/subway/bus maps and never having the right change.
    Do we get stick-in-the-mud as we get older? I’ll have to do some travel and get over that, won’t I?
    I agree with you about Los Angeles. I guess I mostly know the beach part of it — those little towns (and they are almost separate little towns) up and down the coast.
    It’s been many years, but I did enjoy them when I was there.

    Reply
  74. I cannot count the cities I prefer in fiction to real life.
    (jo thinks it over)
    In fact, that may be ALL cities. I do rather prefer to see the great urban centers in books where they are full of magic and adventure. Real life is somehow full of figuring out underground/subway/bus maps and never having the right change.
    Do we get stick-in-the-mud as we get older? I’ll have to do some travel and get over that, won’t I?
    I agree with you about Los Angeles. I guess I mostly know the beach part of it — those little towns (and they are almost separate little towns) up and down the coast.
    It’s been many years, but I did enjoy them when I was there.

    Reply
  75. I cannot count the cities I prefer in fiction to real life.
    (jo thinks it over)
    In fact, that may be ALL cities. I do rather prefer to see the great urban centers in books where they are full of magic and adventure. Real life is somehow full of figuring out underground/subway/bus maps and never having the right change.
    Do we get stick-in-the-mud as we get older? I’ll have to do some travel and get over that, won’t I?
    I agree with you about Los Angeles. I guess I mostly know the beach part of it — those little towns (and they are almost separate little towns) up and down the coast.
    It’s been many years, but I did enjoy them when I was there.

    Reply
  76. My niece went to school at Pella. She loved the town. It is about 200 miles (I haven’t looked this up) straight north of our home, using the highway 1/2 mile east of our house.
    We need to go there for genealogy purposes (my great grandmother came to the United States on one of the boats that brought the Pella people. I need to see if there are any records of my family — who were from a different part of the Netherlands.
    Put you know how it is, this is so close we keep putting off the trip. But I;m looking forward to the scenery as well as the genealogyl

    Reply
  77. My niece went to school at Pella. She loved the town. It is about 200 miles (I haven’t looked this up) straight north of our home, using the highway 1/2 mile east of our house.
    We need to go there for genealogy purposes (my great grandmother came to the United States on one of the boats that brought the Pella people. I need to see if there are any records of my family — who were from a different part of the Netherlands.
    Put you know how it is, this is so close we keep putting off the trip. But I;m looking forward to the scenery as well as the genealogyl

    Reply
  78. My niece went to school at Pella. She loved the town. It is about 200 miles (I haven’t looked this up) straight north of our home, using the highway 1/2 mile east of our house.
    We need to go there for genealogy purposes (my great grandmother came to the United States on one of the boats that brought the Pella people. I need to see if there are any records of my family — who were from a different part of the Netherlands.
    Put you know how it is, this is so close we keep putting off the trip. But I;m looking forward to the scenery as well as the genealogyl

    Reply
  79. My niece went to school at Pella. She loved the town. It is about 200 miles (I haven’t looked this up) straight north of our home, using the highway 1/2 mile east of our house.
    We need to go there for genealogy purposes (my great grandmother came to the United States on one of the boats that brought the Pella people. I need to see if there are any records of my family — who were from a different part of the Netherlands.
    Put you know how it is, this is so close we keep putting off the trip. But I;m looking forward to the scenery as well as the genealogyl

    Reply
  80. My niece went to school at Pella. She loved the town. It is about 200 miles (I haven’t looked this up) straight north of our home, using the highway 1/2 mile east of our house.
    We need to go there for genealogy purposes (my great grandmother came to the United States on one of the boats that brought the Pella people. I need to see if there are any records of my family — who were from a different part of the Netherlands.
    Put you know how it is, this is so close we keep putting off the trip. But I;m looking forward to the scenery as well as the genealogyl

    Reply
  81. What a small world.
    I’m reminded of Solvang California.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solvang,_California
    (You may have to copy that out and recopy it to make the link live.)
    I know all about putting off a visit to the local famous sights. I grew up not far from Washington DC and I saw none of the famous ‘biggies’ till I was a teen and old enough to take out-of-town friends on tours of the city and FINALLY went to the top of the Washington Monument, into the Lincoln Memorial, along the row of blooming cherry trees in the spring …

    Reply
  82. What a small world.
    I’m reminded of Solvang California.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solvang,_California
    (You may have to copy that out and recopy it to make the link live.)
    I know all about putting off a visit to the local famous sights. I grew up not far from Washington DC and I saw none of the famous ‘biggies’ till I was a teen and old enough to take out-of-town friends on tours of the city and FINALLY went to the top of the Washington Monument, into the Lincoln Memorial, along the row of blooming cherry trees in the spring …

    Reply
  83. What a small world.
    I’m reminded of Solvang California.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solvang,_California
    (You may have to copy that out and recopy it to make the link live.)
    I know all about putting off a visit to the local famous sights. I grew up not far from Washington DC and I saw none of the famous ‘biggies’ till I was a teen and old enough to take out-of-town friends on tours of the city and FINALLY went to the top of the Washington Monument, into the Lincoln Memorial, along the row of blooming cherry trees in the spring …

    Reply
  84. What a small world.
    I’m reminded of Solvang California.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solvang,_California
    (You may have to copy that out and recopy it to make the link live.)
    I know all about putting off a visit to the local famous sights. I grew up not far from Washington DC and I saw none of the famous ‘biggies’ till I was a teen and old enough to take out-of-town friends on tours of the city and FINALLY went to the top of the Washington Monument, into the Lincoln Memorial, along the row of blooming cherry trees in the spring …

    Reply
  85. What a small world.
    I’m reminded of Solvang California.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solvang,_California
    (You may have to copy that out and recopy it to make the link live.)
    I know all about putting off a visit to the local famous sights. I grew up not far from Washington DC and I saw none of the famous ‘biggies’ till I was a teen and old enough to take out-of-town friends on tours of the city and FINALLY went to the top of the Washington Monument, into the Lincoln Memorial, along the row of blooming cherry trees in the spring …

    Reply

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