Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Place Names in Fiction

As I was saying yesterday, I've been editing my horror novel set in Civil War Missouri. One of the people in my writer's group had an interesting comment that made me realize that as a writer you have to be careful with every aspect of your story.

One of my main characters comes from Springfield, a city in southwest Missouri. I chose to have him from there because it was an important Union military base, sort of a last outpost in a wilderness of rebel guerrillas.

My critique partner, who is English, asked me, "Are a lot of towns named Springfield in America?"

"Sure," I said. "In fact I can't think of a state that doesn't have a Springfield."

"Well then that might work for your American readers, but when I hear Springfield I think of The Simpsons."

Doh!

My character is now from Republic. Same county, much more neutral name. Actually, it makes for a nice irony. I like having a Confederate character from a town named Republic!

1 comment:

irishoma said...

Hi Sean,
I like the town name Republic, too. Sounds unique.
Donna

Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

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