A user in my Nanowrimo FB group wanted a different locale and setting for her paranormal/romance novel because–in her words–“Washington state” has been done to death in that regard because of what went on with the Twilight books. In her words, “I want to put some distance between me and that trope.”
Which is perfectly understandable, but has Washington state been done to death in paranormal/romance? I tried to see if I could find the answer on that on the internet, but my findings were inconclusive to say the least. There’s plenty of listings for paranormal romance novels and the like, but there’s nothing–no studies–which could shed some light on this interesting problem.
However, I may not have to look very far. I recently remembered a book series by one Patricia Briggs whose werewolf series involving her character Mercy Thompson was set in the Tri-Cities of Washington state–far from the usual locales like Port Angeles and/or Seattle–where many popular book series involving the supernatural or the paranormal were inherently based.
But given what I know about paranormal romance and the settings each author used as their default settings, I hardly think that Washington state has been a veritable magnet for all things vampires and werewolves, fairies, warlocks, demons, and the like.
Washington state hasn’t been the most popular state–in my opinion–for use in such stories because there’s not a lot there to excite the reader in terms of a romantic setting that instills excitement and drives the imagination to new heights of ecstasy. It’s like my pen pal in Ketchikan, Alaska using Alaska as her de facto setting for her science-fiction and fantasy novels these last 13 years: It doesn’t mean that using such genre elements makes the state a bad place to set your book’s theme in.
It just implies that there’s a lot of potential for growth in the historical and conventional sense.
That would be like me basing one fantasy series or something to that effect in my home city of Everett, Washington. Or even Marysville, or Lake Stevens.
But nothing–in my opinion–has been done to death. Location, settings, the whole nine yards, there’s still plenty of room for growth and book potential if given the chance. Just because Stephanie Meyers used Port Angeles as her “go to” destination for her Twilight saga doesn’t mean that the Evergreen State is off limits to the rest of the writing world and therefore unappealing to newcomers and burgeoning writers who want to add a little spice and excitement to their lives and in their novels.
But if you want to talk about over saturation of book settings, New York and California are used more often in most genres because of their idyllic settings and because some of us writers often dream about what it’s like to be in either state.
Plus, they are great fodder for disaster scenarios and post-apocalyptic story plots. Granted, Prodigy and Champion use the Pacific Northwest as their starting point (along with some zombie apocalypse novels), but writers these days are a lot more diverse when it comes to choosing where to set up camp with their books.
My Price of Freedom novel starts out in Kentucky of all places and ends up in enemy-occupied San Francisco. My Vampiress Hunter novel is set in Berkeley, California. So it’s not exactly in the most common places used by today’s authors. In fact, any location we choose for our novels would become the most idyllic setting. Some people just have their own preferences.
But done to death?
Not so sure.