Yes, that is the question—as it pertains to my Portraits trilogy. I set the opening book, Portrait of a Girl Running, in fictional Milleville, Long Island, New York. This setting has no bearing on the next two stories, Portrait of a Protégé and the work in progress Portrait of a Girl Adrift, but when I publish Adrift, I plan to release a second edition of Girl Running*. As I work through edits, I’m wondering…since all the other settings in the series are factual places, although used fictitiously, how important is continuity of settings?
The geography of Milleville, where the majority of Girl Running takes place, is based upon my hometown, Amityville. (I wrote about this in an earlier post.) Geography aside, there is only one other detail very loosely based on reality—I had a math teacher, Mr. Miles, who had a reputation for being cantankerous but loved by many students during his long career that spanned generations at Amityville Memorial High School. After his death, shortly after I graduated, the middle school was named after him. As far as I’m aware, he never married, and I don’t know that he has any surviving family.
Aside from the fact that I suck at math and Mr. Edmund W. Miles was very displeased with my performance, there are no other similarities to my character Mr. Clarence Myles—nor are there any similarities between any of my other characters and the teachers or staff in the Amityville school district.
As I talked about earlier, the reason I didn’t use Amityville as the setting has to do with the notorious horror flick and not wanting that stigma attached to my story. But now I’m wondering if that is so much of an issue. How many readers even recall the movies, especially on the worldwide market? Editing-wise, it would be a cinch to change Milleville to Amityville. And no, it’s not a huge issue for the story—just an issue of tidiness and continuity (yes, I obsess over such things!). Before I hit Find>Replace, I’m curious if anyone has any thoughts on the subject.
*I’m adding back in a few deleted scenes—nothing major, but information that rounds out supporting characters that show up in the third book.