Setting, scenery, location. It’s all the same thing. Simply put, it’s where your story takes place. Setting has been a hot topic online this week. Which lead me to think about the stories I write and the location I use. Most of my stories take place in bayous. It’s not a matter of writing what I know. OK it is a little, I grew up near the bayous. Heck, most of my county seems to be near a wetland, reclaimed or otherwise. But that’s not why I write about wetlands. I love wetlands. They are primordial and full of unseen magic. Swamps and bayous are the perfect place to dispose of that body or meet a sinister fellow. It lends itself well to dark stories, fantastical tales, or a little romance. How many areas can one claim an apex predator is living in their backyard? Humans don’t count. Basically, I love a good swamp.
Currently, I’m writing a series of short stories all set in the bayous of lower Alabama. Doing so, I have needed to indulge in a little research. For one what is a wetland? What’s the difference between a bayou and a swamp? Like pornography, I know it when I see it. But I wanted something a little more academic. So here we go. (Different agencies have somewhat different definitions)
- Wetland– basically anywhere land touches water. That includes the marshes, swamps, and bogs. Not entirely sure if the beach counts as a wetland, but it’s related to them.
- Swamp- water saturated area with vegetation floating on the surface, usually in a forested area. Photo taken by Tammy Sue.
- Marsh– watery area with many tall grasses and some shrubs, no trees. Can you see the gator in the grass? That sounds like the beginning of a bad joke.
- bayou-open waterways with a current but look like a swamp (I had to look this on up online, no definition was in my books) basically, it’s a swamp with a small waterway running through it. Real swamps have no current.
Is that clear as mud?
What’s your favorite setting? Is it real or imagined?