Brainstorming Setting

Setting is more than location. It’s time, geography, weather, and people. It’s the wallpaper for your story, and just like wallpaper, poor choices and inadequate preparations can destroy the whole room story. We’re in the middle of brainstorming our setting–Toni and I at this point are obsessed–so I figured I’d give you an idea of how we’re doing it. Also, I don’t have time to write a blog post.

The working title for our book is Monday Street because that’s not just the location, that’s the state of mind. Monday Street is the bad part of the bad part of town, but it has its own laws (unwritten) and its own lawgivers (unelected), and it’s the wallpaper behind the actions of Cat, Mari, and Keely, our put-upon protagonists. That’s why I structured the collage around the street; the location in this book infused the entire story.

Monday Street is the former wealthy waterfront street of South Edge, across from the wharves of the Monday Sea. The main street of the Edge, aka the bad part of town, runs parallel to Monday Street, but once the streets hit South Edge, Monday Street is the power center. As we started brainstorming this, we knew that Cat lived in the belltower of the destroyed church and worked at Maggie’s Ear, Mari worked in the stables behind Maggie’s, and Keely lived in the Warehouse. That was pretty much it: four buildings. So when I started the collage which was for my stories–I don’t collage for the others because I can’t, their stories are theirs, I just leave room for their details in mine–I started with Maggie’s Ear and the church, and then built the rest of the street around them with the stuff I had on hand:

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And then I though about what Monday Street meant to Cat, my character, and wrote this:

Monday Street is the main street of South Edge, so it’s a great place to get your pocket picked, wander down an alley and get mugged, or find a genuine fake relic that just fell off a truck. In the vernacular of New Riven, “He went down Monday Street” means roughly the same as “Here’s your Darwin award.” The architecture there is lovely because it was once the wealthiest part of town, beautiful townhouses across from a perfect beach, with a huge medieval church near the river. Then the Great War fought its last battle in South Edge and the magic fallout from the explosions made the entire borough uninhabitable. The two halves of the country agreed to part, using the Little Monday River as their border, and that split Riven City in half. The north half of the city became New Riven, a symbol of a bright new day, except for Forest’s Edge, now abandoned by the wealthy, soaked in magic, and the bolt hole for New Riven’s criminal population. So where Forest’s Edge was once the center of the city, now it’s the Edge, the last stop before the river and the desolation beyond that, the abandoned half of the city in Valden.

When the magic finally sunk to low enough levels that most of the Edge was clear, the city tried to reclaim it, but the criminal element had a firm grip on it and nobody with influence had any interest in rehabilitating the place (criminals don’t vote, and if they did, they’d vote against a rehab). In the interests of public health, the city focused on the last remaining magic toxin problem in New Riven, which was Monday Street. The lowest lying street in all of Riven, it still had magic at street level, so the city simply raised the road to the level of the second stories of the houses there, put in doors on the second level, and left the beach to rot. Smugglers put up makeshift wharves, and the white sand is long gone, but Monday Street thrives, and now enough time has passed that the original street level, now called the Understreet, is clear of toxins, too. The level below that, the basements and the crypt of the church, still have toxic pools, but nobody goes down there; the first floors of the buildings are the storage areas now, and everybody’s fine with that.

Monday Street, then, is where you’ll find the busiest criminal enterprises in the city, and the businesses that cater to them. Those include:

Rhodes Pharmacy, run by Martine Rhodes, a beautiful thirty-something known for her very fine eyes, her sexual appetites, and her ability to mix up damn near anything if you can pay her price. Favorite drink: absinthe with a dash of bitters.

Ruby’s Bakery, a bakery so good that people from the nice part of the city actually take their chances and send their servants there to buy bread. Ruby also operates a lunch counter inside the bakery, so that’s where Monday Street eats lunch. Ruby has strict rules like no magic inside the premises, but her Rumple is so good (a kind of stew inside one of Ruby’s amazing sour dough rounds) that people put up with the rules just to eat there. Plus if you break a rule, Ruby never lets you come back, and that’s unthinkable. Her granddaughter, Garnet works there, too.

The Department of Extraordinary Complaints: The only government office in South Riven, the DEC is where civil servants go to die. The head of the Dept is as yet unnamed, but his second-in-command is Moore, a doofus/genius who was demoted because of his many mistakes (but BRILLIANT insights) and who is now stuck running the Relics Room, the DEC’s evidence lock-up.

Maggie’s Ear: The hottest night spot in South Edge, probably because of the outdated gaslights, Maggie’s Ear is a bar and restaurant that opens at six PM and closes at six AM after serving breakfast. Jokes about Maggie being a vampire are made (she’s not), but not to Maggie’s face (she’s something else). She runs a very tight ship (Ruby copied her rules from Maggie’s) especially when it comes to her waitresses. Touch one of Maggie’s waitresses and you’ll never see the inside of the Ear again. She keeps a dormitory upstairs for any of the girls who want a free and safe place to sleep–not easy to find in South Edge–and an eye on everything that happens in her joint, especially if has to do with magic. Maggie has no time for magic. All of her waitresses are good, but three–Cat, Pansy, and Keely–are special. Moore from the DEC drops by to play piano most nights.

The Stables at the Ear: The stable’s behind Maggie’s Ear. Krissie will fill this in because that’s her Girl’s setting.

Mrs. Stripe’s Boarding House: Mrs. Stripe (not her real name, which is not unusual on Market Street) runs a boarding house, very respectable, two dollars a night for a room, paid in advance, please. All the rooms have striped wallpaper, hence her nickname. Harry’s living at Mrs. Stripe’s right now, and she thinks he’s a lovely boy. Quiet, though.

The Church of the Seven Sinners: Formerly the Church of the Seven Saints, this beautiful medieval house of worship had a hole blasted through the roof of its nave (not to mention the floor) when a magic orgy went wrong and exploded in its crypt. It’s theoretically condemned and deserted, but Cat’s living in the bell tower, and somebody’s digging in the crypt.

The Churchyard: Behind the Church and then running out to Monday Street farther down, the churchyard has beautiful grave markers and some small mausoleums. They’re still there because they’re too heavy to steal and impossible to hock. Nobody’s maintaining the churchyard now, so it’s overgrown, but it’s the closest thing Monday Street has to a park which means that at night, the grass moves. And sometimes moans. (That would be Monday Street lovers who have few inhibitions.)

The Monday Street General Store: Formerly the Church Parsonage, the General Store is run by Mr. Alice and has pretty much anything you want. (Mr. Alice bought the parsonage for a song when the magic finally settled down under the Understreet.) If it’s not in stock when you come in, Mr. Alice will have it for you by the next day, in most cases, practically new. Mr. Alice is cheerful and helpful and determined to make you buy something. Humor him.

Madame LeNormand’s Gipsy Fortune Telling: Madame LeNormand tells fortunes in Mr. Alice’s upstairs room (turn left at the housewares and keep going until you reach the weapons department. The stairs are behind the brass knuckles). There is speculation about how Madame pays her rent to Mr. Alice, but nobody would dream of actually asking.

The Warehouse: Once a convenient storage place for both sides of the city, the Warehouse sits high across the Little Monday River by the bridge into Valden. At least it used to. Over the years, the Warehouse has grown. It now covers the Bridge and is very slowly expanding down to the mouth of the bay. There is speculation about what will happen when it gets there. General consensus is that when it does, it’ll be a good time to be somewhere other than Monday Street. Oh, and it’s not abandoned: Keely lives there.

Here’s the working map, subject to a great deal of change:

Monday Street Map 2

You’ll notice there are question marks on the map. These are storefronts on the collage that haven’t been filled in, along with all of Market Street. We’re trying to brainstorm now what Monday Street residents might need–Mr. Alice sells groceries, too–that hasn’t been provided yet, on the theory that anything on Monday Street is there because the people of Monday Street want and need it. (Suggestions are welcome. The collage is here if you want another look.)

The map also helps keep us oriented. I was just talking with Toni about how Keely gets home from Maggie’s Ear when she gets off work. Toni said, “She goes down the Understreet to the Warehouse.” So I walked along with her in my mind, seeing what she’d see and realized that the church yard on the Monday Street side would slope down to Understreet Levels, so there must be a railing up on the current Monday Street. That means something to tip bodies over and something for Cat to climb, but also that there’s light in the Understreet there because it’s the one place that’ll be open to the sky. It’s the fictional equivalent of walking-the-terrain, and it opens up huge possibilities the same way the real walking-the-terrain does.

Between the map and the collage, I’m getting a grip on my setting which means I’ll be able to pretty much ignore it once I start writing in earnest. After all, it’s just story wallpaper.

But we think it’s great wallpaper.

84 thoughts on “Brainstorming Setting

  1. I love that it has an Understreet. One of my favorite tourist experiences was going into the old underground Seattle… a section of the city that was built over with the modern Seattle. It was such a neat thing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seattle_Underground. There were glassed in “grates” in the sidewalks above, and the glass blocks were purple. Just lovely.

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      1. Several buildings in Boston have that kind of glass — wavy and violet-tinted. They are in a snooty and lovely historic neighborhood that dates back to the Revolution or shortly thereafter.

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        1. A friend came back from California and said Sacramento also built up their streets, in the same way Seattle did, and at roughly the same time. Apparently if you rather liked where the city was, and wanted to fix it rather than move it, you just… raised the ground level. I think some others are like that as well, but Wikipedia was not forthcoming.

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          1. Well, for Monday Street, it was just that one street, and it’s pretty short because the bay swoops in and cuts it off at the end so you have to turn right and go up to Market Street, then turn left and go up a couple of blocks, and then turn right again to pick up the rest of the street. Really, they were idiots to build that close to the shore of the bay, but then, rich people, they want what they want.

            Yes, we have maps. Constantly changing maps that are really ugly. Someday, we’ll have pretty maps, but not while we keep changing them.

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  2. So excited that you got your mojo back, Jenny! And squeeing in anticipation – this is right up my alley. Can’t wait!

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  3. There’d be some kind of rival bar/pub/nightspot/whorehouse. The bakery and Maggie’s ear are “respectable” and ban for life so where do the people who have been banned or aren’t looking for respectable go?

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    1. The Ear isn’t really respectable, but that’s a good point about the people who’ve been banned. Maybe they go skulking off to the North Edge? The Edge is just a borough, it’s a big city. The Ear is where all the deals get made, though.
      Ruby’s is very respectable. I think Martine might run a brothel; that’s a good point.

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  4. There must be a bookstore, right? And a shoemaker because it seems people do a lot of walking. Also, in 1912, people needed a place to buy whatever they needed for heating (e.g. coal – I still had to fire up my coal oven when I was at uni in the Seventies).

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    1. Bookstore. Maybe that’s what’s under DEC.
      The general store sells everything so that shoes. Wonder if they’d sell coal. Nasty stuff.

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  5. About coal, I reckon the general store would sell bags of it, but there might (or might not) be someone who delivered it in bulk direct to your coal shed.You need wood too, for kindling if nothing else.

    Would there be a local newspaper? That’d be a nice dangerous business for someone. And maybe a butcher or fishmonger, and a tailor. Not sure how wealthy the residents are, and I’m certainly no history buff, so take this with a large grain of salted herring.

    This book sounds like great fun!

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    1. Coal used to be delivered direct to coal cellars, through a hole covered with an iron cover just in front of the front doorstep – at least, that’s how it was in the small terrace house in London where I had my ground-floor flat. I used the coal-hole for extra storage, but had to avoid the street end, since it was damp. I think there might have been a little metal grille forming the vertical face of the doorstep that let a bit of light and damp in.

      So maybe they’ve adapted the former ground floor to make new coal-holes in some buildings? Might be an illicit way in, as well.

      Other businesses would have delivered – grocer, greengrocer, dairy/milkman, laundry. That last is one you might want to use. We used to have our sheets and linens done by the laundry (who used to stamp them with laundry marks). If you did laundry at home, you’d need to boil the water in a copper. My mother had a primitive washing machine (late 50s), and I used to help by turning the handle of the mangle. Then, of course, we’d hang the washing out to dry, or dry it above the range on a clothes rack (as we still do). And my aunt went on using a proper iron, heating it up on the stove, until she died. I guess she liked what she knew.

      Of course, since your world isn’t historical, all this is completely optional.

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    2. This is the southern part of a borough that’s in the southern part of a big city. So there’s definitely a newspaper, probably more than one, but it’s not down here. And I thought later, yep, somebody would deliver coal to businesses. I don’t think there are any home owners in this neighborhood.It used to be a wealthy neighborhood, now it ‘s really poor.

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      1. When I was a (poor) student, I had my coal delivered. I didn’t have a cellar with direct access to the street (coal hole) so some poor delivery guy had to carry it downstairs for me.

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  6. Labor was cheap, so people were employed in a lot of manual labor: street sweepers (cleaning up after horses particularly), lamplighters, ice deliverymen, milk deliverymen, coal deliverymen, char women, scullery maids, upstairs and downstairs servants. (Waiters would be more common in a “good” restaurant than waitresses. Just as footmen were higher status than maids in a wealthy household.)

    It’s unlikely there would be one store selling everything. You’d have a butcher and a baker at least. There would be people selling perishables from carts. Rag pickers walking the street, ringing a bell for people to bring out their junk to trade/sell. In a low income area there would be someone selling second hand goods, either in a storefront or from a cart–dishes, clothes, anything household related. There would be a pawn shop/moneylender. Maybe a “men’s club” where a gang held sway.

    Married women might work at home on sewing, knitting, embroidery, tatting, fake flower-making–any kind of piece work that allows them to care for children and work at the same time.

    You have magic. Are there any magic businesses? Even if magic is poison, is there a chemist selling noxious magic under the counter like it’s rat poison? Is it a good way to murder someone? You mention magic fallout. What changes does magic fallout actually make besides floating fish? Floating fish don’t seem so bad. Does it affect the buildings? The water? What happens if you drink the water since the river is your only source? If clean water is piped in, then is there a central fountain somewhere or do all these buildings have indoor plumbing (kinda ritzy)? Is there a bath house?

    What kind of transportation is available? Besides the ubiquitous horse, 1912 would have seen the advent of bicycles, motorcycles, motorcars, motorbuses, trams, the underground/subway, and of course, trains.

    Hope this helps.

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    1. Magic is controlled. And the guy who sells everything is a fence, so he really does sell everything. Possibly not groceries, though, I was stretching it there. I’d been thinking about carts must google. The gang, the Blights, is at the Ear. We’ve got two pharmacy/chemists.

      These are really good questions. Have to send Toni and Krissie in here.

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      1. My friend used to buy fruits and veggies from a guy who later turned out to be a fence for fruits and veggies. Luxury apples, that sort of thing. For some reason, I find that hilarious — probably wasn’t for the grocery stores and orchards being robbed, but fenced fruit. Poison apples, half-price today only.

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  7. Here are some middle-class Edwardian occupations:
    http://bearflathistory.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Occupations-of-an-Edwardian-Suburb.pdf
    This talks about the Victorian working-class:
    http://www.bl.uk/learning/histcitizen/victorians/poor/workingclass.html

    It includes this quote about cart sellers: “The journalist Henry Mayhew recorded the array of goods for sale: oysters, hot-eels, pea soup, fried fish, pies and puddings, sheep’s trotters, pickled whelks, gingerbread, baked potatoes, crumpets, cough-drops, street-ices, ginger beer, cocoa and peppermint water as well as clothes, second-hand musical instruments, books, live birds and even birds nests. Some costermongers specialised in buying waste products such as broken metal, bottles, bones and ‘kitchen stuff’ such as dripping, broken candles and silver spoons. Most middle class and working class households depended on these street sellers, who had regular predictable beats, and made a fair living.”
    That would make for a lively street.

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  8. Just had another thought: I used to have ‘A Dictionary of Everyday Wants’, probably 1880s, which covered everything, from how to address an archbishop to how to make your own soap. It was astonishing how many household products you expected to make yourself, from chemicals bought from the chemist. Perhaps in your world such a helpful reference book would include basic magical recipes and hints? Which might or might not be much good . . .

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    1. There are books on magic, but they’re controlled by the gov’t. You can get a degree in magic and then you’re allowed to have them, but a bookseller doing business under the table could be really interesting.

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  9. So where are these countries that had the war? This can’t be a secondary world because it has France (LeNormand) and gipsies and 1910 and Christianity, but it has medieval churches and English speaking countries… somewhere…. and all this magic and different history — in this world? Where? Where does it diverge and where is it the same?

    It may be that romance readers will say “Just shut up and tell me the story” but you were talking about worldbuilding and as a fantasy reader this kind of thing drives me batty if it causes me to ask the questions and there aren’t any answers, or if the implicit answers don’t make any sense., it niggles in the back of my mind.

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  10. When you are brainstorming your magic, please consider:
    What are the limits of your magic?
    What cost does the magic have to the user?
    How does magic affect daily life?
    How is the world inherently different because there is magic in it?

    Brandon Sanderson (known for his unique magic systems) puts magic systems on a spectrum. On one end you have clearly delineated magic with rules and limits. This kind of magic is better used the characters to solve problems, because it does have limits. On the other end of the spectrum you have mystical, unexplained, unlimited, woowoo magic. This kind of magic is better used to cause problems for the characters. I thought it was an interesting take on magic systems.
    http://www.writeaboutdragons.com/brandon_w2012/2013-lecture-2/magic-satisfying-resolutions-pt-1/

    Finally, if you could come up with something different for magic, that would be awesome. The previously mentioned Sanderson used seals (Chinese chops) in one magic system to forge things [The Emperor’s Soul]. The seal would change the history of an item, and thus change the item. There’s a fairly recent fantasy release that uses origami magic to cast spells [The Paper Magician].

    It’s magic, it can be anything. 🙂

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    1. We’ve been talking about magic for over a month now. Trust me, WE’RE THINKING ABOUT IT IN DEPTH.
      It actually can’t be anything, it has to work with the world we’ve designed. Toni and I kept missing each other when we talked about what we were doing, and today we finally figured out why. (Only took us a month. Seriously, we talked about it for a MONTH before we realized we were talking about two different systems of magic.) Once we had our ah ha moment, we quit e-mail and went to Campfire and spent two hours trying to straighten out the clusterfuck which we did by inventing a third magical system. That will also probably blow up in our faces.
      World building is hard.

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      1. I am pretty sure I bent my brain yesterday. I already had a healthy respect for anyone writing fantasy (love reading it), but now? Damn. that’s hard. By yesterday evening, I was cross-eyed and drooling, and we only solved a tiny part.

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  11. My reader anticipation will explode… I’m already in love with this book. Please use magic to publish it yesterday.

    For Monday street stores… is there a library? Urgent care clinic? Vet’s office? Auto mechanic? Dentist? Beauty salon? Is there a sleazy magic insurance salesman? Do you need magic insurance, and would it actually cover anything in a catastrophe? A bar on the waterfront would be nice, somewhere low key with a view where you could get a drink and play pool (or a magical sort of darts, involving shots and lots of betting).

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    1. Okay, the analog year is 1910, so no urgent care clinic. Probably no vet, it’s Monday Street. The barber is probably the doctor. Auto mechanic might be premature; they have cars but they’re still using horses. Maggie’s Ear is the bar. The view is of the water, but it’s illegal wharves and a polluted bay.
      1910. There are no mai tai.

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    1. Oh, funeral parlor. Most of the bodies get dumped in the bay, but yeah, a turn of the century funeral parlor with a horse-drawn hearse.

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  12. I come home from work and there’s more and more and more to think about. I am always amazed (and grateful) that people manage to shape all this into wonderful books for folks like me to enjoy, Carry on!

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    1. Toni and I spent hours on this today, and we’re still looking at chaos. It’s tidier chaos, but argh.
      We added a lot of back story which I’m okay with because my characters don’t know a damn thing about it so I’ll never have to write it. Knock yourself out, Causey.

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  13. A bath house, definitely a bath house, probably allied with the aforementioned barber. Nice to have a flower stall somewhere too, some of the herbs and flowers in use for magick, some just beautiful, all for sale and with messages passed.. Perhaps a sweets shop too, with candy made from herbs, the kind of hard candy you suck a long time. And a drayage building. A photo studio? Double images could astonish. So close to the river, sounds like the place could use a plumber too. In real life, here in my village, the plumber knows a lot of secrets because he’s invited in most places and overhears a lot as he’s working, forgotten by the household. A hardware store, of course, filled with useful curiosities. Let of atmospherics you’ve already created. Want to see a atmospheric cemetery? Sacramento’s old cemetery down by the river, still used, begun about the time of the gold rush, the heritage rose group planting and tending rare rose shrubs draped all over the Victorian monuments, crows and ravens posing from marble and treetops. At Halloween, the rose group offers a candlelit tour with ghosts rising from behind tombs to tell how they landed in the grave. On especially good nights, fog creeps up from the river, slowly rising to obscure the ground walked upon.

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    1. I don’t think I’m communicating Monday Street clearly.
      The Edge is the poor part of town, the slums.
      South Edge is the poor part of the Edge.
      Monday Street is the part of the Edge that most of the people in the Edge won’t go to.
      There are no candy stores or flower shops. Funeral parlor works.
      And now I kind of want a taxidermist for some reason.

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        1. Ah, pawn shop. Purveyor of taxidermy on the skids, antique lockets of dubious provenance, and toasting forks. If you need rich people to come into the neighborhood, a pawn shop might draw the ones on the desperate edge of that class.

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      1. Yes but even poor criminal types need food (including herbs), clothing, shoes and shelter (including some kind of heat). 1 fence isn’t going to be able to handle all of that unless he’s got a department store for a shop. Which is unlikely in 1910. So there’s either other fences or he directs you to someone who can help. Which ties into what the butcher or fishmonger does out the back door as someone mentions further down.

        Not everyone who lives in a horrible area is necessarily a criminal. Cheap rents and a quick walk over the bridge to one’s job shoveling horse dung. Or carrying out the night wastes from the wealthy.

        And yeah, my mind keeps floating to Ankh Morpork too. Mrs. Cake and Harry King keep popping in as I think about Monday Street. Also the early morning scenes from My Fair Lady where Eliza gets her fingers slapped for snagging peas (or beans?) to eat as she’s making posies.

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        1. There are a lot of people who aren’t criminals, but they all know criminals and probably work for them from time to time, so there’s a general criminal miasma in the area. You’re right about the grocer, though. I think he’s over on Market Street. There would have been a fishmonger along the coast once, until the contaminated bay started producing some very odd fish.

          The fence does have the general store, which also operates as a second hand store.

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        2. Were there food deserts in 1910? I seem to remember about milk being a huge problem — they’d adulterate it with all sorts of stuff, and by the time it got even to the middle class people, it was pretty foul.

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  14. A blacksmith / ironmonger? I think they’d still have a use for that. What about a funeral home? Maybe they have a business on the side where they “help people into the afterlife”- whether they want to go or not. And you’ve got to have some streetwalkers and an urchin or two. Also there should be somewhere that stupid rich people go when they want to slum it and/ or buy a spell or two. Y’know, close enough to the action to feel dangerous but far enough away to be safe. Then they’d get royally fleeced for their trouble. And maybe it wouldn’t be so safe after all…. MWAAAA-HAAA-HA-HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!

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  15. Have we covered second-hand clothing? I keep thinking they’ll need somewhere to get hold of clothes, or the materials to make them. And shoes.

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  16. Since this is the worst part of the worst part of this city, I can’t imagine there are all that many businesses, at least not legitimate ones. Brothel for sure, or more likely a hotel/boardinghouse that looks the other way when the prostitutes use it. Since Mrs. Stripe is respectable, that doesn’t sound like something she’s do. Maybe there’s another, less respectable establishment?

    Is there a place these people gamble? Some sort of back room casino or bookie operation with a semi-legitimate looking front – news stand, restaurant, butcher shop?

    I really feel like there should be a butcher and a grocer; the fence probably isn’t supplying food. But I also feel like the butcher and the grocer should be running illegal enterprises out of the back door. Drugs or the aforementioned bookmaking, for example.

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    1. Monday Street is run by a crime boss, so the regulars are protected. Good luck if you’re a stranger. I think a lot of this stuff might be on Market Street, which is one street up, so the same neighborhood. We’re filling in that, too.

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    2. Every time I see “butcher” in this thread, I get flashbacks to Sweeney Todd. I have a feeling the butcher may be selling something other than cow and pig and chicken . . . .

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  17. .nd much earlier, but I keep thinking of Pratchett’s Dodger, and who he interacted with. Molly’s stall, the shonky shop, the bathhouse, the barbershop, the pawn shop. The urchins in the streets, the barmaid. Who’s fencing the goods? Who are the big men on the street? They listen to Maggie, sure, but the power structure is there.
    Honestly, if you missed Dodger because it wasn’t Discworld, check it out. Oh! The flower sellers, to deal with the smells

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    1. Mr. Alice fences on Monday Street. There are undoubtedly many more fences in the Edge.
      The big man on the street is Phil Blight who, with Maggie of Maggie’s Ear, keeps a kind of law down there for the residents. Think of early Mafia, street justice as Phil defines “justice.” There’s a new head of police in The Edge, and he’s trying to clean up the place, but Phil’s down there controlling the worst streets in that corner of the Edge, and he’s doing it with a minimum fuss, so for the moment, he’s still in charge. But he can feel the cold breath of change on his neck, which is why he’s gambling on what’s he’s doing in the story. Phil and Maggie are lovers, and they’ve been running the street for forty years, albeit Maggie isn’t a crook. The barmaids are Cat, my heroine, and Keely, Toni’s heroine, but they both have other jobs–Cat’s a cat burglar and Keely’s an undercover agent. There are more barmaids but aside from Pansy, they’re extras.
      I tried to read Dodger and couldn’t get into it, which is odd for me because I love Pratchett.

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  18. Beggars, old soldiers, crippled sailors, etc. And definitely an undertaker – you dump the criminals and victims in the river, but not your old gran – Maggie would not approve. The doctor, the other services, they don’t need to be on Monday Street, but the folks need access to them.
    Fun!

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  19. I’m not sure if this would get to Monday Street or not, but what about the ice man? Could magic be used to preserve food?

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    1. They wouldn’t use magic. It’s too expensive plus there’s physical cost to magic, that power has to come from somewhere, go somewhere, so it upsets the balance of nature.
      Ice would be delivered on a truck, though, right?

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  20. I have no idea if any of this is historically accurate, but as far as things you have in poorer areas of town:
    -the place you go to get loans when you’re desperate
    -the alley/ under the bridge/ area where the homeless people hang out
    -the place kids or teenagers hang out
    -abandoned houses/buildings people are squatting in
    -the one naive do-gooder missionary person who’s incredibly out of their depth, but thinks they can save people, and the place they hang out – whether that’s a chapel or a shelter or someone preaching on the corner.
    -the business that would be incredibly normal, except for the over the top security. There’s a Subway in D.C. where they make your sandwich behind bullet proof glass. I’m not sure what the historical equivalent would be, but something like that.
    -street musicians?
    -the place where day laborers hang out in the hopes that someone will come by and hire them for a day.

    Basically, more people than there are things for people to do.

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    1. They’d get loans from Phil.
      The vagrants would go to the Understreet at night, I think.
      The kids would be up on Market Street.
      Nothing’s abandoned on Monday Street or Market Street, they’re power centers, but the rest of South Edge would definitely have abandoned mansions.
      Preaching — we haven’t done the religion world-building yet, so that’ll come later. The center of religion was the church which was abandoned two hundred years ago. So they’d go to another church somewhere in South Edge, the people who go to church. There are probably four of them in the Edge.
      They wouldn’t have normal businesses on Monday Street. Might on Market Street, but those would be run by people who know the area and are tough enough to establish themselves. There aren’t any chains because it’s 1910.
      Phil hires a lot of people for different things, so they’d know to go to him. I just realized that I put Phil at the Ear every night but he’d have offices somewhere on Monday Street and a cover occupation. TONI!
      Thank you for the brainstorming help (g).

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    2. I agree about the do-gooder. Not necessarily religious, but at least some social reformer type hoping to save the poor.

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  21. Someone who build & repairs fishing boats? And the bait for fishing? We go to Galveston a lot. It’s all about bait, boats, rods & reels & lures.

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    1. I agree with this. Even if the water is too contaminated by magic to fish, there would be boats for transporting goods and people along the river and out to sea.

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      1. Everything in Galveston Island, Corpus Christi, South Padre… the jobs center around catching the food from the ocean, eating it, and repairs. The salt from the water and winds is so corrosive everything needs constant repair.

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      2. I don’t think they’d be there on Monday Street. Up the coast a couple of blocks directly on the Sea of Monday, yes, but I think the bay and the Little Monday at that point have so many problems that nobody wants to fish there and going out there can get you killed. Without fishing or pleasure sailing, the only thing people would use the bay for is to dump bodies.

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        1. Dangerous waters… Have you read The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch? Fantasy set in something like Renaissance Venice with lots of backstabbing. The city has canals and a lagoon with…things…living in them.

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    2. DOCKS! DOCKS! Old, crusty, broken down DOCKS! A good place to deal and plot, maybe a meeting place that’s neutral territory for criminals.

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    3. You know I had one of those, and then I realized the bay and river are still dangerous, so I made the boat rental derelict. Then I turned it into a church yard cemetery because that’s what we really needed. But there’d be abandoned boats on the beach.

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      1. I would think that the poorest, most disenfranchised people might shelter in those boats, having no other alternative and being so beaten down they no longer care what happens to them. And after a while, being so close to the fallout, they would…..change.

        Also there should be a ghost and a story about it. Where does it haunt and why? If there are recent sightings, is someone using the legend to cover what they’re doing?
        THIS IS SO MUCH FUN!!!!!!!

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  22. Houston has a tunnel system, a world below ground. I used to work downtown Houston. A lot of people walk the tunnels for exercise during their lunch breaks. I went to lunch there sometimes in one of the small restaurants. I had my high heels repaired at a small shop down there. I was always afraid we’d have a flash flood and I’d find myself swimming for my life. Houston floods pretty often.

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        1. I never knew about tunnels in Houston but I heard that in Paris, you can take tours of the sewage system which exactly matches the streets above ground. Friends of ours did that and said it was really great.

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  23. I have no suggestions for Monday Street. You are doing great!

    However I did want to thank you for the clarification of “…the grass moves. And sometimes moans. (That would be Monday Street lovers who have few inhibitions.)” as I thought the moving grass & moans were due to ghosts. It is a cemetery after all.

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  24. Some of those buildings would probably be tenements- and I would imagine that most of the city’s recent immigrants would live in the area as well. I can just see going down the street and hearing this cacophony of accents and languages; all the different smells of cooking and horses and people and magic. Children playing in the street getting in everyone’s way. Laundry hanging between buildings. Cart vendors. The rat catcher and his little terrier walking down the street with a bag of dead rats.

    I think I’m getting too carried away here. I’ll stop now. 🙂
    I can’t wait to read this.

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