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Thread: Arcadia, CA

  1. #1
    Joe Zeff

    Arcadia, CA

    I'd posted the response from my friend on the proper thread, but it had gone off the first page by the time I had it. Just to be sure, I'm going to post it again:

    At 11:09 AM 04/14/06, you wrote:
    I found this on writers.net, and told the writer that he was wrong about Arcadia. he claims to have lived there for 20 years

    Ask him what part of Arcadia, i.e. near which cross streets.

    , and that it's accurate.

    There is one part of Arcadia where you _might_ find hoboes, and that's southeast Arcadia, up against El Monte.

    Please read this and let me know what you think abut the description, not the writing. I'll quote what you reply, unedited but not your name unless you want me to:

    No names. And tell him that I currently live near Huntington and Golden West.

    Downtown Arcadia

    That implies Huntington near 1st Ave.
    Ask him what he considers that to be.

    began the morning like any other day in Southern California. Summers were just that way. So nothing in the air suggested extremeness one way or the other, with the early morning hours easing into familiar calmness.
    Local shop owners began their morning ritual by removing debris from their storefront sidewalks, compliments of hobos who had tore through city trash receptacles the night prior.

    Haven't seen a hobo in downtown yet, and if they did they would be in the alleys behind the stores as that's where the trash bins are.

    Their hope was to discover an abandoned treasure left by an individual who took the finer things in life for granted. And Arcadia being located thirty minutes east of the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, almost everything was taken for granted.

    More like 45 to an hour, unless you are talking about 2am....

    As always, deliciously brewed aromas spilled from Jennifers coffee house. This effective tactic served to ensnare those individuals hopelessly dependent on the addictive, but legal, stimulant. Then there were the fresh-baked pastries from her on-sight ovens.

    That's "on-site".

    Rest deleted.

    If he replaced "Arcadia" with "Glendale", "Mar Vista" or "Culver City" he'd be more
    accurate, but even there the trash bins are in the alleys.

    Unedited, just as he sent it to me. As you can see, we were both partially right.

  2. #2
    Shaun Norrie

    Re: Arcadia, CA

    That was me. I posted the Arcadia scene. I know you don't find hobos, seedy locations or anything extreme there. It's a fairly quiet community. But not nearly as quiet as it use to be twenty or thirty years ago. I went to Arcadia High School when we were allowed to have lockers in 1983, but since then, they were taken them out because of all the gang activity starting to sprout up. Before I left there, my friend's mother acutally got held up at gunpoint in front of St. Lukes Catholic Church. Of course, that was on the border of Temple City and Arcadia.

    Huntington and 1st ave is right between First Avenue Junior High and Arcadia High. I envision my opening scene at the corner of Duarte and Santa Anita(the Arcadia Library). That's not dead-center downtown, but a block or two away.

    The manuscript is fiction. I just wanted to use my home of twenty five years as a basic backdrop. I tried to make it more dramatic, that's all. I had some great times there growing up. I miss all my friends and can't seem to find any of them.

    But that's beside the point. I know not that I'm trying too hard to write and I just need to get down to the basics and write what I mean and not try too overdramatize every crossed "t" and dotted "i". I'm trying to work on it. And I am going to rewrite the downtown scene and make it more true-to-life

  3. #3
    Joe Zeff

    Re: Arcadia, CA

    Shaun, a few years ago, I was listening to Tim Powers talk about writing modern fantasy. He said that the only way to make it believable is to get all the real-world details right. That builds the reader's belief in your story and makes it easier for them to accept the fantasy elements. The same thing goes for other genras, in my opinion. The more true-to-life your background is, the more accurate it its, the more you're going to pull your readers in.

    Think, if you will, of the classics. Think of how often people praise them for the way they illuminate their period and how accuately they portray their world. I doubt you'll be able to come up with even one classic that people praise, while admitting that the background doesn't ring true or that the details are wrong. Classics become classics because people read them, like them aznd keep reading them over the years. They reccomend them to their friends, and their reader base grows. Eventually, if they stand the test of time, they become considered a classic.

    If, as I'm assuming, you want to write well and get published, you have to learn how to craft a background that fits the location and the time. You're good at making people see what you want them to see, and if you can make them believe it, you've got it made.

    Oh, and BTW, I'd use "bum, tramp or street-people," not "hobo." Strictly speaking a hobo is a migrant worker, willing to work for a living, but not interested in settling down to one area, preferring to move around from one short job to another. It's not that important, but there are still a few of us out there that know the difference.

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