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D.J.

Senior Member
Hello, everyone,

I am new to the board, and to writing, as it happens. I've always been keen to write, but I guess this is me dipping my toes into the creative writing pool. For the longest time, I've had this idea, but I never really did anything about it. I got my inspiration from a cartoon I used to watch, when I was little. It was called Gravedale High. It was about a high school for monsters, with each student being a teenage version of a well known movie monster. Now, it's quite a light-hearted piece, comical -- serious isn't really my forté, I think humour would be the strongest weapon in my writing arsenal, so I tend to stick with what I know. So, I'll cut to the chase. I need a location for my story to be set. I wanted it to be set somewhere in the United States, but I'm not from the United States, so I'm drawing blanks. I don't want to use Salem, because that's been done a million times. I want my location to be somewhere dark, overcast ( I need a dark place, so my vampire can manoeuvre around in the daytime ) and I also wanted somewhere that swamps ( There's also a swamp creature ). So, along my helping me; I have a few other questions, I would appreciate any assistance.

1. Is it silly of me, to set my story somewhere I've never been before?

2. Recently, I came to learn that an author named Lisi Harrison has wrote a book named Monster High, which is somewhat similiar to my story. Should I be disheartened by this? I bought the book, just to see for myself, and the plot isn't really like mine, but the whole concept of teenage monsters, I wouldn't want people to think I ripped off someone else's work, you know?
 
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AceTachyon

Senior Member
Is it important that it be sent in the United States?

If it is, do some research. Find someplace that would fit your parameters. Or make up a town/city near that place or in the same geographical area.

As to the other book--don't let it bother you. Same idea. Different execution. Tell your version of the idea. You'll end up putting your own unique "spin" to it.
 

D.J.

Senior Member
No, it's not crucial that it's set in the U.S.A., that's just where I imagined it would be. I do like the concept of inventing a town, but I am terrible, terrible with names.
 

Bilston Blue

WF Veterans
2. Recently, I came to learn that an author named Lisi Harrison has wrote a book named Monster High, which is somewhat similiar to my story. Should I be disheartened by this? I bought the book, just to see for myself, and the plot isn't really like mine, but the whole concept of teenage monsters, I wouldn't want people to think I ripped off someone else's work, you know?

Have you seen how many vampire novels there are nowadays? Or do you remember the godawful glut of books centred around religious symbology following the rather moderate success of The Da Vinci Code. I don't believe, in fiction, you can rip off a concept. Take it, embellish it, and make your story a better story. Take note of what does't work in the other book, and see if there is a way you can make those things work for you.

Good luck

Scott.
 

D.J.

Senior Member
Thanks, Scott. I think I needed to hear that. I've always believed that if we, as writers, were to scrap every idea, because we suspect it had been done before, we wouldn't have anything to write about. I think that whether we like it or not, sometimes repetition cannot be avoided. But I am doing everything in my abilities, to try and steer my story away from Lisi Harrison's, in an attempt to make the basis my own.
 

Leyline

Honoured/Sadly Missed
WF Veterans
The Pacific Northwest is perhaps the rainiest, most overcast region in the US. I'd suggest you do some research on the area and make up your own middle-sized town somewhere fairly remote from major population centers. Since most of those monsters were popularized by the Universal films of the 30's, and almost all of them were produced by Carl Laemmle, Jr, how about "Carlton, WA'? :)
 

ppsage

WF Veterans
I once looked at a house to buy in Carlton OR. It was a four story victorian in poor condition and, judging by the basement rumpus room decor, had probably been rented to vampires at some point. That's not too unusual, in the smaller municipalities. Just a couple families normally, nothing like the cities. Well I can only speak for Portland. For all I know Seattle could be totally clean. Probably is, the way the Seahawks play. The river through Carlton turns into a pretty good swamp around the highway bridge but the town is in the west Willamette Valley wheat zone & rain shadow so there's no dark forest and considerable sun, for the western Pacific NW. The rain zone is really only 100 or so miles, east and west, then mountains for 50ish then desert, cold but dry. There is a few monastery nearby Carlton, which makes wine and chocolates, but a Lugocians still slip in. So if you want to breed up a few more bloodsuckers there, it's definately gonna be okay. Swamp monsters not so much maybe, you might want to check north Mississippi or Alabama or maybe Tennessee for that. Someplace where that green Spanish hair stuff grows on the trees. Hope this helps. pp
 

D.J.

Senior Member
I think I'm going to go for somewhere in Louisiana, because of the marshlands. I'm thinking either New Orleans or Layfette.
 

Edward G

Senior Member
I have to say, if the story idea has already been done, why do it again, especially if you know it's been done and have actually read the book? Granted, if the plot and characters are sufficiently different, then you can get away with it. But is "getting away with it" the best recipe for success?

And you should set it in your own country and write for people in your country. I'm not saying that to be xenophobic, I'm saying it, because that's how you're going to be most successful. Case in point: I loved the movie Mad Max as a kid. It was set in Australia and used Australian actors; that just made it all the better.

It's just like people who speak another language who try to write in English. It doesn't work. They'd be much better off writing in their own language for their own part of the world and then having the work translated.

I live in New Orleans area. I want to read a story that takes me to where you live, not where I live.

That's just my two cents on the issue. Good luck with your writing.
 

mockingbird

Senior Member
Hi DJ, why not set it in Cornwall, a place full of monster stories, myths and legends the swamp could be Bodmin Moor. Romantic setting?
 

Sue Owen

Senior Member
Hey DJ,
Its, of course, always best to write about places you know. Why not take some place that you know in your own country and "move" it to the United States? I live in Oregon and the comment about the Pacific NW being "gloomy" is totally true but thanks to Twilight its been 'done.' The nice part about being a fiction writer is you get to make stuff up...why not take advantage of that? How about a setting in the future or the way past? Dinos and vamps???
 

praytocarlsagan

Senior Member
Sue,

Oh. My. God! Vampire velociraptors! Possibly the awesomest thing ever. =P

I agree with the idea of Edward G in that you should write somewhere you know. The world is full of stories from America through the defacto cultural imperialism that occurs nowadays. If you know somewhere else, I'd rather read that. A sense of place can be a really powerful force in a story. Choosing the right one can be what sets you apart from the other similar stories in the sub-genre. It is what makes your story yours instead of it being a rehash of someone else's. It's much easier to notice unique mannerisms in someone you are close to, than it is to come up with them afresh. But then, I am a pathetic plagiarist from the real world in my own writing.

(Presuming fluency, I very much disagree on the 'writers should write in their own language' point, though. Some of the most unique and amazing writing I've enjoyed has come from people whose first language isn't English. They can offer some great tokens borrowed from their original language that speak volumes when placed into am English context.)
 

D.J.

Senior Member
To Edward G, I am doing my utmost to ensure that my concept is as different as possible. As for your comment about just 'getting away with it' not being the recipe for success. The piece that I am writing is something that I'm doing for me. So, as long as I am happy with the final product, I would consider it to be a success.

I do appreciate everyone's advice. I just don't believe that where I'm from works. I think the United States does work. Literally, the only thing that's hindering me, is finding a state that's more or less damp and gloomy throughout the entire year. Like Sue said, I would use Washington, but Twilight sorta took it. So, I'm thinking of maybe using Oregon, because, if I'm not mistaken, it's directly beneath Washington. Once I have my state chosen, I am going to create a fictional town. All I'm having trouble with is choosing a state, that's all.
 

garza

Senior Member
Edward G. - If no one wrote a book because it's been written before, no one would ever write a book. The most recent idea for a made-up story is about three thousand years old. What fiction writers have to do is create new ways of telling the stories, new combinations of ideas.

All the themes have been composed, but we'll never run out of variations.
 

Sue Owen

Senior Member
So, I'm thinking of maybe using Oregon, because, if I'm not mistaken, it's directly beneath Washington. Once I have my state chosen, I am going to create a fictional town. All I'm having trouble with is choosing a state, that's all.

DJ ... May I suggest, as an Oregonian, that you use somewhere along the Oregon coast. There is a mountain range that goes from Washington to California straight down Oregon that cuts off the coast from the rest of the state. As you move inland you get into the valley and then the high desert neither of which is 'gloomy' year round. The coast, however, gets all the nice ocean weather and is frequently stormy because the coast range stops all the weather from moving inland. I'd suggest looking at Florence or Waldport both are small fishing towns and enjoy the brunt of the nasty weather! I lived in Coos Bay once and we had some pretty nasty storms and it was misty and damp most of the time. Good luck!
 
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