Part of the Program

Part of the Program: Setting

The handy thing about performances AS settings is that The Big Show is a really great way to bring the community–all your characters–together and watch them interact in a fun chapter (or three).  Nerves, pressure, a chance of public humiliation–what’s not to love?

But this post is more about settings in general for books about performing.  The nice thing about performance stories is that they can happen anywhere.  Recitals, concerts, art displays, some kind of theater–just about every place has these.  (If yours doesn’t, please don’t tell me–*sniff*).

Even if you’re writing a story about being in a movie or commercial, that can take place in a small town, too–and they often seem to.  The old Hollywood-Comes-To-Somethingburg story is like plotline #57, isn’t it?  Everyone gets starstruck and the protagonist seethes when the enemy is given a part in the production, but then everything goes haywire and the protagonist has to save the day. “You! Kid with no experience whatsoever! We don’t care if you have any talent–we need you to SAVE THIS FILM!”  I love those stories.

Have you ever thought about the performance books you’ve read and how many of them take place in the big city vs. a smaller town?  If you write, are you ever tempted to set a story in a “small town suburb of a big city,” like all those series books where it seemed like the characters took a train into the city whenever it was convenient for the plot?

For books about show business, London, New York, and LA are favorite settings, of course.  (Do you know The Teddy Bear Habit?  It’s the only reason I knew the word “beatnik” as a kid–but that’s a story for another time . . .)  But I love a book that takes place Elsewhere, too.  It frankly makes me feel like I’ve had the fun of traveling someplace totally new–as well as hearing a good story.

By the way, the pictures included with this post are of a TV show filming (Equipment! Trucks!) and background auditions for an ABC Family movie.  I’m lucky to live in a weird little city where there are all kinds of chances to perform.

More on settings on another day.  Meanwhile, stars are everywhere, so I hope wherever you are, you shine.

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