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Old 07-21-2008, 01:17 PM
 
Location: London, ON, Canada
156 posts, read 586,714 times
Reputation: 141

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Hi all,

I'm currently writing a novel and it takes place in a small town (about 600 people). I'm hoping to have it set in Nebraska. However, I was hoping I could get any information from anyone who lives or has lived in a small town on what it is like. I know that's a broad question, but I have always grown up in big cities (unfortunately), and I don't want to make assumptions in my book.

Is there anything really interesting that goes on in your town? Do you have any information about what small town life is? What defines your specific town? Do you enjoy it? What do the youth that grow up there do for fun/recreation? Do you have any information you think would be interesting to include in a novel that takes place in a small town?

Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time
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Old 07-21-2008, 01:26 PM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic east coast
5,435 posts, read 10,049,410 times
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I'm a writer, too, and here are some thoughts.

If your novel is to be set in a small town in Nebraska, I would move your posting to the Nebraska forum, too.

Why? Each small town has specific regional differences. For instance, if the small town in Nebraska is mostly agriculture-based, its interests and defining characteristics would be centered around that. But if your setting is a small fishing village in Maine, the interests and focus would be entirely different.

In Nebraska, young people might be keen on 4H clubs and county fairs and knowing how to use and repair farming equipment--and keeping close watch on rain and droughts. In Maine, they would be keen on boats and fishing gear and winds and tides.

So my suggestion would be to define your small town and its key industries, be it in Nebraska or wherever--and then ask your questions to get targeted answers.

Make sense?

Wishing you good luck on your book!
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Old 07-21-2008, 01:34 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,494 posts, read 38,413,910 times
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I'm not in Nebraska, but here, if you want to know what's going on in a small town, stop by the feed store, information central. Or sometimes the hardware store. Or both, depending on the small town in question.

Other than that, LittleDolphin gives good advice.
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Old 07-21-2008, 01:40 PM
 
Location: London, ON, Canada
156 posts, read 586,714 times
Reputation: 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleDolphin View Post
I'm a writer, too, and here are some thoughts.

If your novel is to be set in a small town in Nebraska, I would move your posting to the Nebraska forum, too.

Why? Each small town has specific regional differences. For instance, if the small town in Nebraska is mostly agriculture-based, its interests and defining characteristics would be centered around that. But if your setting is a small fishing village in Maine, the interests and focus would be entirely different.

In Nebraska, young people might be keen on 4H clubs and county fairs and knowing how to use and repair farming equipment--and keeping close watch on rain and droughts. In Maine, they would be keen on boats and fishing gear and winds and tides.

So my suggestion would be to define your small town and its key industries, be it in Nebraska or wherever--and then ask your questions to get targeted answers.

Make sense?

Wishing you good luck on your book!
thank you for the information and you know, I already have a thread in the Nebraska forum on this subject, but I was hoping to reach more people and their perspectives on their own town in this forum. I'm just looking for generalities, sort of trends in small towns. And yes, rural Maine would be much different than rural Nebraska, as would rural Arizona, but seeing as I already have a thread in the Nebraska section, I figured I may be able to learn a bit more in this forum, since I'll have more opinions from different people and places, you know, to really give the town in my novel a unique, but still realistic appearance

Thank you for your reply!!
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Old 07-21-2008, 03:29 PM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic east coast
5,435 posts, read 10,049,410 times
Reputation: 10478
Well, if it's general information you're after, TexasHorseLady had wise advice. In addition, beauty and barber shops, the local library, and the general store are juicy places to find out news...

Librarians have an amazing amount of town information at their fingertips...sitting in the local courthouse during hearing and trials reveals some great inside into...

Local churches let you know who's been born, who has died, who's getting married, and who's likely to go to hell (just kidding).

Realtors know who's just moved into town, who's getting ready to move out. Bankers know who's in financial difficulty but are too circumspect to gossip...

And let's not forget the local coffee shop, early in the morning...be a fly on the wall there and you'll soon learn all there is to know about the town...and if there's a local newspaper, the editor knows a lot--he/she's got their finger on the town's pulse...

Last edited by LittleDolphin; 07-21-2008 at 03:30 PM.. Reason: type
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Old 07-21-2008, 05:48 PM
 
2,542 posts, read 6,066,718 times
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I would plan a little vacation to a small town and see for yourself. The good thing about a vacation in a small town--it won't cost alot!
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Old 07-22-2008, 02:13 PM
 
Location: Oriental, NC
917 posts, read 2,108,407 times
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I live in a small town in coastal NC about 900 people.The main thing to know is that gossip spreads like wildfire, whether it's good or bad. The local coffee shop, grocery and hair salon are the main places to get news. In our particular town we have lots of eccentric people... like the guy who wears his wifes clothes to do the grocery shopping. Lots of artists as well. Drugs are a problem but I guess thats everywhere now. I have only been here for 5 years but I like it.
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Old 07-22-2008, 02:30 PM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
10,425 posts, read 45,090,483 times
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I grew up in medium sized towns. I live in a big city cesspool now. 3 years ago my wife took me to where she grew up in south Texas. I fell so hard for the beauty of the country I bought our retirement land on the spot. 3 years later and still 15 years from legal age retirement we decided to move to our small Texas town now rather then later. Population 721 as the welcome sign says.

We take the 3 day drive often just to sit on our lake and suck in the clean air. When walking around on the tiny center of town with mostly boarded up store fronts and Antique stores that make maybe a sale a week everyone will stop and say hello. You cant look the other way. They put their arm out and lean towards you to say hello! Then follows the "ya"ll ain't from around here". When they hear we intend to live here and already own lake property just down yonder their eyes open wide as does their smile.

They dont like change in their tiny town but they do welcome those wanting to retire from the hustle bustle of Houston or outsiders as well. Once I made the mistake of saying I had a good idea for a new store to open up and received some snickers. They dont want change.

In my little town we have one place that draws tourists. The origional Jail from San Jacinto County from the 1800s. Still open for tours with the origional writings on the wall from the inmates. Then we have 2 state parks. But most visitors dont stop to buy anything in Coldspring. They come to have fun and leave. The locals love it that way.
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Old 07-22-2008, 05:09 PM
 
Location: London, ON, Canada
156 posts, read 586,714 times
Reputation: 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyme4878 View Post
I would plan a little vacation to a small town and see for yourself. The good thing about a vacation in a small town--it won't cost alot!
I've been meaning to do that. The problem is I live in Canada and I have a job and I have a tight budget at the moment, but I will be doing that eventually

I was just seeing if anyone could offer some interesting trends or information about the lifestyles of people in small towns.

thank you to Ann In Oriental and desertsun41 for their information. That's exactly the type of thing I'm looking for I appreciate it!
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Old 07-22-2008, 06:15 PM
 
Location: South Dakota
733 posts, read 4,245,588 times
Reputation: 716
Quote:
Originally Posted by stotan88 View Post
I've been meaning to do that. The problem is I live in Canada and I have a job and I have a tight budget at the moment, but I will be doing that eventually
Funny...a lot of us living in small towns - even those near or in Nebraska - might find a story set in Canada interesting. Ever thought about writing about what you know about first hand?
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