5. Do not use the phrase sleepless in Seattle or any variation thereof.
There’s a shitload of sleeping in Seattle. In December we barely have daytime. The sun doesn’t peek up until, like, 8 in the morning and it’s gone again at 4 o’clock, and during every one of those 8 hours it’s behind a cloud-deck that starts at the tops of the trees and goes to infinity. Most Seattleites suffer from the depressive effects of SAD. All we want to do is sleep. Why do you think we drink so much coffee?
4. Never have any character say anything about Fraiser.
Fraiser and Eddie didn’t film here. Neither did those Gray’s Anatomy people. (Oh, Patrick Dempsey, why do you shun us?) They just used us for our background shots. However, if you need a Seattle-ish TV reference you could drop in Twin Peaks because…Twin Peaks.
3. Employment at Amazon, Starbucks or Microsoft.
Hundreds of Seattle residents DON’T work at these companies. Tens of hundreds.
If you need a good job for your character, we have a remarkable number of bikini barista stands, and a large number of undercover cops staking out bikini barista stands. (And also creepy people checking out the cops and the baristas.)
Don’t worry, it’s not sexist. There are men working as bikini baristas, too.
2. A romantic dinner at the Space Needle.
Yeah, fine. It’s kinda cool to have on our skyline, but the Space Needle is a tourist magnet. The ONLY reason Seattle residents actually go there is because we get a rise out of our out-of-town guests saying “Oooh. Ahhh.”
Or prom. I guess the Space Needle’s a popular place to go for Senior Prom. So…mayyyybe if you’re writing YA…
No, I take it back. Just don’t do it.
And the Number One thing NOT to include…
Fine. It rains here. We get it. Screw you, Lewis and Clark for making such a big deal out of it. You came from Washington DC. They get more rain than Seattle. Manhattan gets 9 more inches of rain a year than Seattle.
It’s sunny here. I swear. *crosses fingers under North Face raincoat*
What does rain add to a narrative, anyway? Straggly hair and beads of moisture on your MCs polar fleece is about it. It’s so passe to have your character begin an internal monologue while watching raindrops inch down a picture window, don’t you think? Go for something more original. Have your Seattle-based character gasp in alarm because of the thick band of dog snot she sees when the sun slants through the glass. Monologue? There’s no time for monologue! Where’s the Windex?
I’m sure I left a few NOTs out. Feel free to add to the list in the comment section. Think of it this way: You could be saving a future novelist, cartoonist or playwright from making a grave Seattle error.