So, this began as a post about the types of car companies I was imagining in Automation. They included (with the closest real world analogies there for reference)-
-Standalone/car dominant companies (Ford, Volkswagen)
-The automotive arms of giant conglomerates (Mitsubishi, Hyundai)
-Niche companies (Tesla)
Of course, auto makers in the third category frequently end up as subsidiaries of the first two. This then turned for a way to bring up another post idea I’ve had for a while-it’s easier to make a big organization do small things than the reverse, whether they hunt the supernatural or make cars.
I recently posted a writing sample on Spacebattles, and the critical response consisted of saying it was unsubtly telling rather than showing. I looked again and agreed with it. Showing and not telling is a big problem for all writers, but I think it’s an especially gigantic one for me.
Why? I’m somewhat of an “analytical” writer, who writes histories and psuedo-histories. That sort of style works well for a non-fiction piece, but appears flat and forced when it comes to fiction. So I have to change, and it’s not an easy task. It’s so much easier to say something like this:
“The keiretsu’s auto arm had a reputation for being one of the least efficient carmakers in Japan. Its higher priority on fixing miss-assembled cars than on building them right in the first place stood in contrast to its more innovative rivals, and a look inside one of their plants would show a clumsy, brute-force approach to supply.
With this in mind, some industry commentators considered its planned American plant a poisoned chalice for whoever hosted it.”
-than to show a clunky auto plant in actual practice.
This applies to everything from battles to character descriptions-it’s why I have to keep trying desperately to improve.
So, this is a sort of follow-up to my previous post detailing where to put the auto plant that never was. I have three weird locations.
-The first location violates the criteria of “near a large” city, but is unconventional enough- Hagerstown, Maryland. While it’s in a small, remote area, it’s at a major railway hub as well. In fact, one of the “problems” with the Hagerstown plant is that a large Volvo parts factory is already there-showing the location’s appeal to actual car makers.
-The second is even more unusual, to say the least. I only found out about it when I was chatting about the possible auto plant locations. There was a proposal by mayor Robert Wagner to attract a car plant to the Brooklyn Navy Yard when it closed. That’s quite-interesting.
It could technically work, but I still have skepticism. The traffic problem for suppliers is, however close the yard is to an expressway, still something I view as too big an issue. I still can’t see the plant lasting more than one, or if it’s incredibly lucky, two industry downturns.
-The third is in Hartford. The main reasons are the unconventional location, existence in an ultra-urbanized state, and railroad links.
So, I have a dilemma about the location of an auto plant for one of my fictional endeavors. This illustrates a problem with trying to be too detailed.
Car plants have been everywhere, but note the emphasis on the past tense. It’s no secret that, in the US, the remaining factories are clustered in either the Midwest or Deep South. Proximity to the gigantic number of suppliers that any plant depends on is a crucial factor, as is an existing auto industry.
But for this particular plant (which, like many, has seen better days), the criteria is:
-It’s a foreign transplant, so probably not in the Michigan area.
-At the same time, I don’t want it in the countryside. The reason is…
-This is the main issue. The plant I want to be located near/in a large city. One that is so big, diverse, and inherently healthy regardless of the national economy that closing the plant would, while still being painful, not be a crippling blow. In fact, among many locals, the factory would seen as a clunky anachronism, and it should just hurry up and close so that the space can be used for something more productive and profitable.
I could use a fictional city, but it wouldn’t really work if it was that size. (A small town I can easily make up and put anywhere, but a city that could absorb one to two thousand job losses-not so much).
Or I could just be vague, but a part of me likes weird details.