5 Things NOT To Include If You Set Your Story In Seattle

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…

Rain. Rain!

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.

About the author


Livin' the life in the 'burbs: All the trees a dog could want and the occasional glass of fine Washington chardonnay. Most days the Pup plinks away at a keyboard and hopes words come out. Too bad it's mostly gibberish. Paws, yanno...


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  • Thanks for the scoop on Seattle. I know a number of people who have left NJ for Seattle, but it was more on the order of employment at Amazon or Microsoft and not bikini barista stands. I have never been to Seattle and look forward to visiting.

    • Stay tuned IMB, I’ve got some hidden gems coming soon. We look forward to you coming and spending your hard earned dollars here. 😀

  • Living as I do in the state that is often the Rainiest Spot in the World (Hawaii), I’d just like to point out that Seattle’s actually kinda dry. And we’ve got coffee too, we not only sell it, we grow it! And bikinis!

    And given the quality standards of the current Hawaii 5-0 production, I wish they would go shoot in Seattle…

    • LOL, AtGaP! YOU WIN! If I’m honest I much prefer Kona any other coffee on the planet. Thanks for stopping by the Menagerie!

      • I liked Seattle the one time i was there (took the bus down for a visit from tech school at NAS Whidbey Island). To be honest, in the summer Whidbey was like Kauai with pine trees and no surf… some rain, some sun, surrounded by water, 20 minutes by air from the big city, mostly small town or countryside…

    • SEE? Another Seattleite confirming a sun sighting. (We’re ignoring Lindsay’s cloud reference.)

      I’m with you on the Global Warming, but let’s just keep that between the two of us.

  • I lived in Gig Harbor for four years, and I can confirm definite periods of sunlight. Personally I love rain so the location was a good fit. I have to admit, though… more than one friend did work at Microsoft– but maybe that’s because I know a lot of tech geeks 🙂

    • With your permission, Kimber, I shall send anyone who says “Doesn’t it rain all the time in Seattle?” straight to your comment. Any confirmation of sunlight here is welcome! 😀 We’re always looking for allies so don’t be a stranger to the Menagerie!

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