Saturday, February 12, 2011

Setting of a Previous Novel

   Sometimes I wonder if I love taking photos more than I love writing. It's not true, but I do love my camera...

   Everywhere I go, I take pictures. My dogs get majorly annoyed with this, by the way. They are probably the most photographed dogs in the universe. And there is my super-photographic family. Thanks to digital, I'm not going broke on my photography habit (yet.)

   I take pictures for possible scenes in novels I think I might write. For some reason unknown to me, if I take a picture, I will forever remember what I see through the view finder. I have thousands of photo files but don't refer to them often. I don't think this is photographic memory, but I wonder if I should take faux-photographs of every textbook page I read. Maybe I should try it with Bible verses I'd like to remember.

   Last April, while researching my current WIP, I drove to Austin on what is often called "The Blue Bonnet Highway" in the heart of the blue bonnet season. Blue bonnets are not in my WIP.

   Because I was by myself, I stopped along the road to my heart's content. (I could insert a thousand photos here. I will not. I'm guessing you are so pleased.)

    I turned off the highway at the tiny town of Giddings to find the tinier town of Dime Box which has always intrigued me. I didn't find it. Maybe it's so small I drove right past it.

    Actually, the search for Dime Box wasn't my first detour. I'd already 
turned off 290 at Chapel Hill, opposite the corner where an Exxon gas station advertises the best kolaches (sausage in bun) in Texas, which is absolutely not true.

   Once through Chapel Hill, the scenery along the road forced me (at gun point) to stop and take photos. A certain novel I've written and abandoned came to mind.

   Perhaps I forgot the novel takes place during blue bonnet season????? Did I include blue bonnets? I think not. Perhaps I needed to pull out the novel and look at it again???

   Okay not now, I told myself. I am sticking to my 2010 New Year's Resolution: One novel at a time.

This could have been the place!

   I got to Austin later than expected that afternoon. The usual two and a half or three hour drive, depending on traffic, took five highly-inspiring hours.

   I know many writers collage the novel they're working on and that's always sounded like really good fun (alas, distraction.) I've bought the poster board and glue sticks after collecting pictures I've cut from magazines and... but they wind up forgotten when I get busy and write. 

   But inhaling the setting of a future page? Standing in the middle of it? 

   I have to tell you, I did get back on track with the work in progress. In fact, the day after I arrived in Austin, I was given the most fantastic tour and forgot all about blue bonnets and my previous novel which I will revisit one day, perhaps when I am finished with this one. Well, I couldn't ignore blue bonnets entirely. They are, indeed, everywhere around Austin in April. But I became consumed with the hills, rocks, water and coffee shops (yes, ha ha) that are in my WIP. I took more photographs (okay, only seven hundred.) Before long the WIP was off and running in my mind... and on the page. 

   BTW, I didn't make a 2011 New Year's resolution, but if I had, it would be to
1. take more pictures! :)
2. blog on a regular basis! :)
3. finish the WIP and take a peek at the old one--curiosity is killing me.

   Time for coffee and the WIP...

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful pictures! I am glad you were so inspired. With my last one, I made a little writer's bible filled with the character pictures and their information that I flipped through daily. With this new one, I have created one of those, too, but as setting is so important, just last night in bed I was thinking of doing a collage. Costumes, setting pictures, characer pictures . . . yes, your blog has given me the push to make my own. I have some beautiful scenery pictures for my setting and I can only imagine what staring at it up on my wall would do for my creativity--I mean, I'm feeling inspired looking at your photos now! Maybe a blue bonnet story is in my future?