Sunday, April 24, 2011

Location, Location, Location

Did the title of this blog have you scratching your head, wondering how a real estate ad got onto The Writers Vineyard blog site?

Well, I am trying to sell you some real estate.  More specifically, trying to sell you on the idea that an interesting piece of real estate (location) can be a real boost to your book.

In fact, I believe location should be an early consideration when planning your story.  Why?  Because location affects character.  People who thrive in small towns or wide open spaces, more often than not, don't do well in the hurry-hurry atmosphere of big cities.  And vice versa.  So, pay attention to the type of character you place in any location.  Otherwise, you could -- unintentionally -- end up with a fish-out-of-water story.  Of course, if that's the kind of story you have in mind...

Another thing about location is that readers have certain expectations about locations.  They expect your southern farm-boy character's dialogue to be somewhat slower, whereas your big city, hard-driving executive's dialogue should be more clipped.

But I digress.

Most of my own  stories have been inspired by a location.  In many instances, the setting/location is almost a story character. At other times, locations actually dictate the story.

Such is the case with my soon-to-be-released novella, Border Heat, much of which takes place in tiny, primitive Divisadero, Mexico, one of the stops on the famed Copper Canyon Railway.  This railroad line connects the interior city of Chihuahua with the coastal city of  Los Mochis, traveling through a portion of the famed Copper Canyon -- Barrancas del Cobre -- home of the Tarahumara Indians.

The train trip itself was an adventure, traversing 86 tunnels, 36 major bridges, and a major engineering feat in which the railroad circles back over itself, making a complete 360 degree loop.  Until the recent difficulties with Mexican drug cartels, the trip was a popular tour offering by US travel agencies.

My husband and I love to travel and the Border Heat story began to percolate in my mind as soon as I saw the vast, magnificent Copper Canyon.

Some of our other travels have taken us to Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Croatia, Puerto Rico, and 49 of our 50 states.  Which means I still have lots of stories to tell.  So I hope you'll follow along on some of my other adventures.  And I hope you'll take a peek at Border Heat when it's released in June.