The Jewels of Fate series has two key locations: the magical kingdom of Acanesia and New York City. If you’re interested in learning how Acanesia was built, check out my author presentation on “How to Build a Fictional World.” Although Acanesia is a fictional world full of magic, New York has many remarkable characteristics that make it a great setting. Want to learn more about The Big Apple? Keep reading!
Did you know that New York is home to 8 million people? It’s a diverse city with residents from many different ethnic backgrounds and cultures. Five boroughs form New York: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. The main character in The Jewels of Fate, Chuck Kingsley, lives in the Upper East Side: a prominent neighborhood in the Manhattan borough. He also lives close to both Central Park and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which are just a couple of the tourist destinations New York is known for. It’s easy to incorporate these landmarks, shops and atmospheres into your story. For example, in The Sword of Sorenth, two of the characters are having a conversation in a coffee shop, loosely based on the hundreds you can find in Manhattan. Afterwards, a chase scene throughout the busy Upper East Side highlights the lifestyle and extreme busyness of this part of New York.
People Can Picture It
Maybe one of the reasons why New York is such a popular setting in stories is because it’s so familiar. It’s one of the most common travel destinations in North America. If you haven’t visited New York personally, you probably know someone who has. But for writers, New York’s popularity is such a huge tool. Your readers can easily picture the streets, skyscrapers, and greasy food carts lining the roads, allowing them to follow along with the plot much easier. Many different movies and TV shows will give a glimpse into New York life too. If you’ve seen Friends, Elf, Home Alone 2 or The Godfather, you know what New York looks like. No other city on the planet is used in film, TV or books as much. For instance, name me one book or movie set in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. I’ll wait.
While one could argue that this makes New York an overused setting, I’d say that it’s how you use the city in your writing that makes the difference. You must put a unique spin on it and try something no one else has done before.
My Personal Fascination with New York
I’ve always been fascinated with New York and have wanted to travel there since I was a kid. Partially because I’ve read a lot of books that take place in New York. Series like Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan and The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare inspired me to set my books in this vast city. I was supposed to finally visit New York on my Grade 12 grad trip, but a little thing called COVID cancelled that. Someday I’ll be able to go and be that tourist who pushes all the elevator buttons in the Empire State Building, just like Buddy the Elf.
So how is New York portrayed differently in The Jewels of Fate and The Sword of Sorenth?
With a few exceptions, nothing is different about New York other than the characters who live there. Since I already had an entirely made-up fictional world called Acanesia as the center of this series, I wanted to make New York as realistic as possible. In other series I’ve read though, New York is a changed version of the actual city. Maybe one of its iconic landmarks is the hideout of the main character, or perhaps it’s a dystopian version of the city after a war has occurred.
While most of my two stories take place in Acanesia, the city of New York becomes crucial even after Chuck travels across realms. This place is not just the starting point of the series but Chuck’s home that he fights to return to. It is not only featured at the beginning of The Jewels of Fate but is constantly mentioned throughout the rest of the series. New York becomes even more critical in The Sword of Sorenth, as Chuck now tries to defend his hometown against enemies from Acanesia.
Whether you live in New York, have visited it, or only know about it from books and TV shows, there’s a lot of features this city offers that can be used to make your storytelling much better.
Tips for Creating a Memorable Setting (RECAP)
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