So I was laying in bed last night, a snoring mastiff at my feet, when I finally finally was hit with the ending to the fic which has been eating my brain. (Unfortunately it'll increase my word count like whoa although that is neither here nor there.) I started writing it out and realized, once again, I was basing the premise somewhere in Northern California.
This probably is to be expected: I've lived in NorCal all my life and am not really all that well-traveled. By using somewhere I myself am familiar with I can avoid embarrassing mistakes, like saying that Boston is a two hour drive from Long Island, or accidentally using 'miles' instead of 'kilometers' when my characters are dodging bullets in the Swiss Alps.
Certainly there are actual authors who do this -- Stephen King would have me believe that everything important and/or scary happens somewhere in Maine -- and if it's in the canon, hey, why not?
... There's something lazy about it, isn't there? It's always seemed to me a little smug, as if the writer is saying, "This is my home: let me show it to you." Like being cornered and forcefully shown boring vacation photos from extended family, and yes, they had a good time but you personally couldn't care less.
It still doesn't stop me from doing it, occasionally. Not like I have much of an opportunity -- there's not much use for any geographical location to pop up in ATLA or Naruto. But I will sometimes throw in a local bird or describe a swimming hole based on a place I've been: tiny inside jokes probably only I will get upon re-reading.
So my question to everyone is... how much of this do you do in your writing? Do you prefer to set your characters in a place which suspiciously resembles your home town? Do you avoid it like the plague? Do you see it as lazy writing or relatively harmless?