Welcome to Inspy today! Back-2-School Book Bash has begun! Always great fun! And today we’re talking small towns. What we love and maybe don’t love about small towns. There are tried and true elements that readers love and come to expect when creating this type of community. I’m calling them anchors.
Small Town Anchor 1-Let’s start with people. Reoccurring characters can make a reader feel like they’ve come back home. Some favorite character types are the matchmaker–usually a woman, but don’t count the men out. There are also busy bodies who are always in everyone’s business, with good intentions of course! What about a meddling mayor?
The reoccurring characters must have a role in the story. I know as a reader I love picking up a book and recognizing a character. Sometimes that in itself foreshadows what may be coming in the story.
Small Town Anchor 2-What about the town itself? Once a reader starts reading a small town romance, they become familiar with the shops and the town. Do the characters meet at a favorite coffee shop? It’s always fun if a character owns or manages a book store. Restaurants, churches, flower shops, even wedding dress boutiques can become a part of the story. And again, there’s the trick. The shops must serve a purpose besides somewhere for people to gather. It’s always interesting to me how these stores and places in the small town become an intricate part of the story.
Small Town Anchor 3-The setting. Where is this small town? One of my favorite authors says setting is like a character itself. Setting can add so much to the story. The mountain small town will have a different vibe than the beach small town. I’m obsessed with wanting to live on a river. River towns? Ranches are always a popular setting. Readers can’t seem to get enough of them. Also small towns with lakes draw readers to them.
Of course these small town anchors can be used when writing a stand alone book. But they are essential when creating a series. I created a small town in my series, Single Dad Next Door-A Devon Park Collection.
(I’m giving away copies of this book in the Back-2-School Book Bash)
I realized all my other towns, (except 1) were urban settings. Maybe that’s because I am a city girl at heart. But there is an endearing aspect to having community that can be gained by living in a small town. I know we’ve talked about small town verses urban settings before, so we aren’t going there again.
So, the question today is this: Out of the small town anchors that I’ve listed, tell me in the comment section what would be your favorite combination. Example: A matchmaker who worked in a flower shop in a mountain town setting. Of course, I’ve only listed a few things under each anchor. Feel free to add your own.