Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Review of Writer's Guide to Places by Don Prues and Jack Heffron

This “one-of-a-kind reference for making the locales in your writing more authentic, colorful, and memorable” is a wonderful jumping-off point for doing just that. It includes a look at all fifty United States, ten Canadian provinces, and fifty-one cities that, while certainly not comprehensive, may be just what is required to spark the writer’s imagination.

Each state profile includes historical facts, common food and drink of the residents, myths and misperceptions about the area, a population count, and a list of interesting places in which to set a scene.

Cities are given a little bit more in-depth look, including common likes and dislikes of the city’s denizens, in addition to lists of newspapers and other publications, local restaurants, and places in which a certain type of character may live, work, or hang out.

Provinces are not treated in quite so much detail, which is rather disappointing because most readers are likely to know far less about Canada than they are the United States.

All profiles include a handy list of resources for use in further research—something that is necessary if one wishes to go beneath this scratch-the-surface glimpse into the locales listed here.

As a whole, Writer’s Guide to Places is a handy guide for any writer creating a setting with which he is not extremely familiar. However, as the authors state in their foreword, this book “is certainly not the last word on any of these places.” With that in mind, the average author should still consider this an essential tool to add to his library.
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