Saturday, November 9, 2013

Just a Little to the West

I was driving along Richmond Road near Lincoln Fields shopping centre last week and passed by the field where I had an 'incident' occur in Cold Mourning. The field was closer to Maple Lawn, a walled garden with a Keg restaurant in the heritage family home, than I'd indicated in my story. In fact, I had the field further west, closer to a string of apartment buildings.

Which made me think about poetic licence and setting. My first novels were geographically easier to write because I made up the towns although I set them in a real geographical location - for instance, I made up the town of Duved Cove in In Winter's Grip, but I set it north of Duluth along Lake Superior. Duved Cove was a figment of my imagination and if I could picture a street, I could make it real on paper. Grounding the town in a real geographical location helped me to create a more believable setting.

My two latest series are set in Ottawa and Kingston and I do not have as much freedom to invent although I still take the odd liberty with location, such as moving a field a few blocks over. I also create places that aren't real and set them in real locations. For example, I made up the Gadfly Bar and place it on Elgin Street in the third Anna Sweet mystery. I also invented a dumpster in its back parking lot and a body inside the dumpster. So why not use a real bar on Elgin Street? Well, from what I understand, business owners aren't all that pleased to have authors killing off people on their premises. Understandable. And sometimes, I just need to make the real world fit into mine to make my story work. But I always try to keep as many details about a neighbourhood as true as possible and hope the readers who live in Ottawa and surrounding towns embrace the fictional bits. Readers outside the area, of course, never know the difference :-)

I got some writing in last week on my latest manuscript (nearing 11,000 words) and worked on developing questions for My Sister's Keeper. Still lots to get accomplished this weekend, which happily is a three-day one for me. I'm purposefully not reading any novels this week to keep myself on task. I sure miss having a book on the go though for those down moments. I feel like I'm going through withdrawal . . .

November is typically a month that I find grey, cold and depressing. Well, we still have leaves on many trees and no snow so I'm cruising through this month without much angst. I'm staying busy with work, writing, curling , family and friends - hardly cringing at the shorter overcast days. Keeping spirits high.

 I'm learning to embrace the grey.

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