#amwriting Novel 1 question short works Work in Progress

New Story Post; Characters & Settings and Tangibility

It’s safe to say that I can breathe again after a less-than-fruitful week. For the past two weeks, I haven’t had much time to devote to my writing; in general, I haven’t had much time to myself due to festivities for Chinese New Year and my birthday over the past two weekends. Don’t get me wrong: I love celebrations, I love time with family and friends, but like any other person, I also love time spent alone.

I feel like I can’t fully function/be alert with tasks/work when I do not have at least one full day to myself to do whatever I want to do. Even though on certain days of the week I still have time before and after work to myself, it’s never enough for me to have those pockets of time. I need a full day.

So, because of the lack of time lately, my updates to my website and my short works had been suffering; only today was I able to get around to adding another short story to my website (called “Riches to Rags” under Other Works); it’s slightly longer than my other work, and the POV is from a man instead. As always, please feel free to leave feedback/reviews on my comments post.

I’ve been working hard on developing more about my characters from Writing the Past, but I’m having trouble with a couple of elements; in general, I feel like this is a weak point in my writing at this stage. The question goes–

When writing non-Science Fiction/Fantasy, is it important/mandatory to have real location names (i.e., names of real cities like New York, San Francisco, Fairfax, etc.)? Also, is it necessary to directly address characters’ ethnicities/cultural backgrounds?

The reason why I struggle with these aspects of writing is because I do not want to box my characters into the stereotypes or “familiar” things akin to familiar locations, cultures, etc. It may be a controversial matter, but I don’t want to feel like I am limited to only writing about Asians, Asian-Americans, etc. and their plight of living in certain conditions/cultural conflicts/etc. What exactly is accepted/not accepted though? What makes a storyline tangible, easy-to-relate?

Any insight is appreciated.