Thursday, May 12, 2016

Seeing Things as a Writer

     I am nearly finished reading through my rough draft of Caribou Canyon/City of Secrets, which means it’s almost time to start writing the revision and posting it online. In case I haven’t mentioned it before, I’m very excited. City of Secrets takes place in a fictional Colorado mountain town called Caribou Canyon. Caribou Canyon is loosely based on an actual Colorado ghost town called Caribou.
     As far as ambience goes, my setting was pretty well formed in the first draft. As far as the actual physical/visual aspects are concerned, the setting is hardly formed at all. It’s time I fixed that. The other day, I took the first step toward doing that and drove up to Nederland, a small mountain town that’s only about 20 miles from where I live. It’s actually still in the same county. Though it’s pretty close to me, it’s very different from where I live. The population is only about 1,300 people.
     I drove around Nederland and got a feel for the town: where the houses are located and what kinds of shops, schools, and recreational activities it has. Now, since I live so close, I’ve been up to Nederland bunches of times. I even got stranded up there once. With a giant flag that I had to carry around. It wasn’t fun. But I’ve never been there as a writer, which is a completely different experience than walking around town with a flag.
     I went to the visitor’s center for some maps, which turned out to be pretty funny. The woman asked if I was from out of town, and when I told her that I was a Colorado native living just down the mountain she got a really funny look on her face until I explained that I was writing a book and wanted a map to use as a sort of model for my fictional town. After that she was very helpful.
     What’s great is that within just a few minutes of being up there I already had several ideas of things I need to add/change about Caribou Canyon. I even had a few ideas that didn’t even have anything to do with the setting. I plan to visit a number of mountain towns and get a feel for them. I’m going to collect maps, look at them, and then put together Caribou Canyon in combination with how I already see it. At least that’s the plan so far.
     I also went to a coffee shop to read some of my first draft. I plan to do some actual writing in each of these towns. I figure some of the small town ambience will bleed through in my writing. And if it doesn’t, at least I have some pretty scenery to look at.

     So, there is the latest in my venture to get City of Secrets out in the world. Stay tuned for more updates (you all better be on the edge of your seats).