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"Well I was born in a small town, and I can breathe in a small town.
[I'm] gonna die in this small town, and that's probably where they'll bury me."
John Mellencamp, "Small Town"

Many stories prefer a big city because it's exciting. But sometimes a story instead needs a small town setting, where people know each other, and "time slows down to a crawl". Of course, size is relative, and a small town can be anywhere from tens of thousands, to a few hundred, depending on your perspective.

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A good example in fiction: In The Wheel of Time series, the heroes come from Emonds Field, which is a small town of a few hundred people. They get to a city (regional capital) and are all amazed at the size: thousands of people! Then they go to the capital city, and discover that "big city" they were so impressed by is considered a small town, and that nobody has even heard of Emonds Field.

There are a lot of specialized subtropes of the small town:



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