draft 3: finding my quarry

i’ve mentioned before my problem with the location of a quarry in my story, stemming from my not doing proper research first, and the difficulty i was having deciding whether to remain honest to the real world locale i am working with, or to just adapt it to fit what i’d already written.

i decided to stick with the real world location and began to adjust various passages in the story that referenced the quarry. but then it got more complicated. being lazy, i’ve been relying largely on the Google’s and Yahoo!’s maps.* both have dates of 2009 for the images of the area i’ve been looking at, and both showed the quarry in the same spot, so that was fine.

however, when my wife came home, i was showing her what it looked like in the ‘Bird’s Eye’ view of Microsoft’s bing maps tool, and that’s when it all went south.

when i zoomed in, the quarry that looked like a quarry in the regular and 3d maps of all the map sites i’d been using was, in point of fact, now a newly erected Wal-Mart distribution center.** no more quarry. or, at least, not of any size and certainly not usable for my purposes.***

i stared and stared, and tried different angles but there it was. after a little more research, i found the confirmation of Wal-Mart’s presence, and that was that.

so now what? it looked like i’d have to adapt the ‘reality’ to fit the story after all. so back to the maps, i wandered up north in the direction i’d initially put the quarry in the story. and then i found it: a gravel pit, almost at the exact position i’d written it into the story in the first place, and this time, yes, it really exists. it’s smaller than the city one (than it used be, that is), but it’s perfectly positioned and it fits the bill.

it’s a little eerie that it would be so precisely placed again, echoing the similarities i had with NGD, but i don’t really know what to say about that. i’d like to say ‘fortune favors the well prepared,’ but that’s not really applicable here, as i was not as prepared as i should have been with my research. on the other hand, i might allow that it’s a sign of the inevitability of this book and this story to be told, but that feels a little overly mystical, too.

either way, though, the fact is that it’s there, it’s right, and i’m running with it.

* i know, i shouldn’t be doing that, but i just said i’m lazy!

** not exactly Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” kind of a situation, but still not what i’d expected.

*** that said, this discovery has also spawned some interesting character developments and potential future conversations and events that will help maintain the reality and currency of Kelly’s world.