...More specifically, Tuesday's Tips Specifically Regarding Places That Are Medium-ish Towns Not Particularly Close To Any Real Cities And Have A College Smack-Dab In The Middle.
To provide a bit of context for the topic--we at YA Lit Six decided to theme our next round of posts, and the theme is setting. We're going to provide you with information about different types of settings we have personal experience with, so if you decide to set your next story at, say, the beach, or down south, or in a medium-ish town not particularly close to any real cities and has a college smack-dab in the middle, you can throw in some authentic-sounding details.
So! A medium-ish town. A medium-ish town is characterized by having way more clothing stores, restaurants, and banks than a "small" town (namely, multiples of each one) but way less than a city or even a town with a decent-sized (read: more than one story) mall, and also lacks skyscrapers. Large billboards are absent, and grocery store parking lots are large but never packed with cars.
Most of the multiple restaurants/shops/banks are located in the downtown area. This downtown area is navigable via a grid of streets, and people who frequent these streets (mostly students of the aforementioned college) could be major contenders in 2016 if jaywalking ever makes it as an Olympic sport. Community members complain constantly about driving downtown, but in reality the situation is a cakewalk compared to, say, the streets of NYC.
For entertainment throw in two movie theaters, two pools, a laser tag arena, and multiple public parks. There is one nightclub in the entire town and it's really not that popular. Seeing as this supply of entertainment might get cycled through multiple times and become "old," younger residents of the town usually spend time at one another's houses, the two main shopping areas, or, when the weather's nice, wandering downtown mixing up where they eat dinner/lunch/ice cream. (Throw in many ice cream places.)
As a whole the town is fairly affluent, so add in at least two golf courses. Most residents live in suburban-style neighborhoods with lawns large enough for a swing set in the back. There are a few apartment complexes and a few mansions, but the mean is the mode in this case.
Line the town with farmland and forests--though the town itself does not seem very rural, residents are less than an hour's drive from many--many--hiking trails, fishing spots, and hunting grounds. Some people on the edges of town can simply walk through their backyard and up one of the low mountains surrounding the town. (The northeast isn't particularly flat, but these are no Rockies.)
The town itself is fairly clean. Roads are well-maintained, and graffiti is rarely seen, except a few glimpses in some downtown alleyways. Because it is a college town, the public library is pretty large and the college libraries are well-stocked with scholarly material.
In Autumn the leaves turn all sorts of colors, making the mountains look purple and coating the sidewalks. Winter covers everything in a nice layer of white, making the town seem smaller, somehow, and really cozy--until the snow turns to slush, and then it's just gross. Summertime gets hot, very hot, and lots of sunbathers flock to parks and lawns downtown to partake in the yearly ritual of seeking out sunburn and/or boys. Mosquitoes fly rampant. Spring brings many flowers, bees, and thunderstorms.
(Sorry this is in no particular order.)