Sunday, November 07, 2010

Nothing beats onsite research

A time or two in the past, I may have mentioned the importance of walking the terrain.  Characters come alive when you can visualize them in the exact setting.  Your ability to describe that setting is greatly enhanced by actually walking that ground, inhaling the scents, feeling the breeze, listening to the ambient sound.

As you know, I've been busy for some time with my schooling, Casey's therapy and the book about that.  Hell to Pay was put aside. I'll be digging it back out very soon so that I can polish it up and send it out.

Yesterday I went for a walk along the Hermitage in Dunkeld, Scotland. Yep. Scotland.  Bracken and Nea are both from there.  I've been drawn to that area for many years and a friend's photo of the terrain surrounding The Hermitage inspired a major turning point in Alex and Nea's relationship.

As soon I put foot on the trail, I was back inside that story. I could picture Bracken peering at me from behind the rocks.  At one point, I felt hundreds of eyes staring at us.  The gentle shush shush of our boots through the fallen leaves seemed to whisper thank you at one point.  The roar of the falls gave way to the splash of water drops upon the trees.

Our journey through the woods yielded many bits of information I would never have gathered without using my own senses.  The bracken and birch didn't grow side by side as often as my research had suggested.  The paths and viewing benches may have been man-made but the forest had painted them with all the colours in nature's pallet.  Moss danced across the forest floor, over the rocks and up the trees.  The air was fresh,  bracing in its purity.

And through it all the story played out in my head.

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