In my extensive reading of YA books, I’ve realised that the vast majority of the books are set somewhere in the US, with a few in the UK or Europe now and again. In fact, the only ones I’ve read set in my home country of Australia were written by Australian authors. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the US—it’s so vast that stories can be completely different depending on what state they’re set in. That being said, I long for books set somewhere different.
If there’s one thing you should know about me as a writer, it’s that I like to set my books in unique places. I have one book set in the US, and that’s in a ghost town. My other books are set in Copenhagen, Cape Town, Budapest, and most recently, New Zealand. I haven’t been to all these places (yet), but I’m interested in the way stories can change depending on their setting.
Today I’m going to talk about why I think you should set your story somewhere different.
It draws the reader in.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but if I see a book set in Norway, for example, I am almost 95% more likely to pick it up. I know absolutely nothing about Norway, but I’d love to hear about what life if like there, and your book has just given me that chance.
This is for you as a writer. A unique setting will give you the chance to research this incredible place, maybe you live there yourself or maybe you’ve been there and just fell in love with the place. You’ll learn about the history, the people, the streets and everything—it’s one of my favourite parts of writing. I actually got to sit in cafes in Copenhagen where my characters would hang out, and it was just incredible.
A new perspective.
Think about Norway for a second again (I don’t why I picked Norway, but roll with it). How many books do you know set in Norway? How much do you know about the Norwegian way of life? Writing about somewhere different gives you the chance to give the place a new voice that people wouldn’t have heard before. What’s not cool about that? Think about how different a regular character could be if they’ve lived their entire life in Norway. What different live experiences would they have?
So those are a few of my reasons as to why I think unique settings are they way to go. I’d like to know where your books are set? Or maybe there’s somewhere you’d like to write a book about?