Good morning Virtually Readers! Today, I am pleased to welcome you to….Generica! We’ve caught glimpses of it in our guide to High School and Summer, but Generica is bigger than both of those places. Generica could be anywhere! It’s probably a medium sized town in America with a big enough high school that not everyone knows each other, lots of football games, and is basically a suburb with not personality because the characters are the personality. This is gonna be great! (and hopefully not too short—but there isn’t much to say about Generica)
Description: There’s really not much to say about Generica. The town may not even be named. It probably has a high school for its characters to spend time in. There will be houses where teenage parties are held (parents out for the weekend, drinking and wild times etc.) There might be football games sometimes, and for some reason the whole town cares about them. Sometime kids go to the mall, because consumerism is entertainment. But there is nothing to distinguish Generica from any other Generica, and this is it’s downfall.
People: Almost every single contemporary character of all time, including Mim from The Secret of a Heart Note, Taylor from The Way to Game the Walk of Shame; Chloe from 6 Months Later; Skylar from I’ll Meet You There; Unknown from The Perks of being a Wallflower; Kate from What We Saw; Dave and Julia from Never Always Sometimes; Sydney from Saint Anything; Devon from First and Then; Taylor from Second Chance Summer; Samantha, Jase, Nan, Tim, and Alice from My Life Next Door; Janie from The Face on the Milk Carton; and Digby and Zoe from Trouble is a Friend of Mine. There are many others.
History: How long have bland medium sized towns been around in literature? I don’t know. Probably a long time, and that’s the point. The town is a convenient backdrop to the more exciting business of the plot and the characters. So who cares if it’s bland?
Where to stay: Let’s face it: you don’t come to Generica for the sights. You come to see your friends, and you’ll probably be staying with them too. If a hotel is even mentioned, it’ll be because prom is being held there or something. Hopefully you can crash in someone’s house.
Language: There is nothing distinctive about the language. The kids use popular slang, definitions for which can be found by any bored author on urban dictionary. If Generica is so luck as to have *gasp* non-white, suburban, cisgendered, middle class, Christian background people in it, they may use some slang so that it’s obvious that they’re *different*. If this happens try not to be too shocked—the author isn’t racist, just narrow minded. (note from non-sarcastic Shanti: this is a gross overgeneralisation and by no means true of all authors). The point of the language is not to date the book too much, and most of all, to not make it clear at all where this Generica setting could be.
What are your favourite books with a generic setting? Does this annoy you, or are you okay with it? Tell me in the comments!