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draft 3: do my research first

using a stone quarry for a location sounded like such a great idea; evocative, stark, cold, metaphorical, et cetera.it fit the mood and atmosphere and gave me a number of great moments and discoveries, both for nuanced character development and for some more overt plot elements.

unfortunately, it’s not where i wanted it to be.

the book is fiction, obviously, but i’ve been working within the broad-stroke confines of a real city and its environs. the fun of this has been melding my real world knowledge with the demands/desires of the story.

however, the liberties i’ve taken have been minor, in the grand scheme of things. i’ve said before that i want kelly’s ‘normal’ world to be as close to the world i know as possible, so i’ve been fairly honest to the city and place locations. unfortunately, and this was an example of sheer, almost spooky luck in NGD. i’d written NGD before going for a drive through the city to validate the things i’d written, but when i did take that drive, i found myself almost exactly on target with the things i’d imagined and written. that was an eerie afternoon. very cool, but eerie in its accuracy.

so, i suppose it’s not surprising that i would expect the same thing for HHNF. nor, then, is it surprising that it was not to be. street names are one thing, as is shifting buildings and parks slightly, but with massive landmarks like stone quarries and rivers, it is something else entirely.

the stone quarry exists, which is a good and bad thing. good because it can continue to emphasize the reality of the world, but bad because i don’t think i can put it where i have written it. again, it’s fiction so i have ultimate control, but there’s a cost to the believability of the scenes, i think, if i start playing pick-up-sticks with such things.*

i haven’t made a final decision, yet, but i’m pretty certain i’ll be re-working the story to fit the world. the plot events will remain intact, but there will be some moderate reworking necessary.

and so i get further from the end, once more.

* of course, this begs the question of how many people from lewiston, maine are going to read this, but that’s not the point.

2 Comments
  1. My 2 cents: Given I grew up in the area… I didn’t even realize you had moved a few things in NGD. That said, if I’m right on the quarry you’re thinking of (which I’ve been to) I couldn’t get back there if my life depended on it, so I’m thinking… move it, I wouldn’t even know. But as you say, that’s probably not the point. If you feel like you’re being “fake” that may not live up to your intent and ultimately you’ll be disappointed with the work. If you don’t think you’ll carry that with you, leave it… I swear I won’t know the difference :)

  2. thanks for that, julie. i’d actually forgotten that you grew up in that neck of the woods, so this works out perfectly! NGD was minimal change, mostly street names and some slight physical shifting, but it all still held ‘true’ to the real city. the quarry, though, is a bit more significant a change, as i’ve written it, but your points are well taken. i’m still debating the shift while i address other things, and i’m trying to remain open about it, not forcing it, but not being lazy, either. nothing like making mountains out of molehills, eh?

    thanks again for the comments. very good to get another pov, particularly one familiar with the story and the city.

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