As someone who writes fiction as my side job, I seek inspiration, either from other people or from places. Additionally, as a writer who is about to publish my 4th novel, I use places almost as I use characters in my novel—they must have a personality and purpose. Setting is very important to me, and getting a handle on that place requires me to do some digging and exploring.
Next month, I will launch my newest novel, LITTLE MILESTONES, set in St. Michaels, Maryland, a place I love visit when I need to get away from the rat race of life. It’s only a little over an hour away from my house, so it’s convenient. It’s a place where I can hear myself think, as I love exploring the streets either by foot or on my bike. Luckily for me, I have a willing partner in exploration, as my husband often makes the trip with me. It’s also helpful for him to do so because he’s one of my beta readers for all of my novels. He asks hard questions about the characters, plot, and setting, for which I must have good responses. When he goes with me on these day trips, we dive into the culture and place in ways we wouldn’t do as tourists. We absorb all we can, and a lot of that morphs into my storytelling.
On Saturday of Labor Day Weekend, we took our final “spin,” so to speak, on our bikes in St. Michaels. We traveled back roads and paths we’d not explored before, and as the St. Michaels Nature Trail figures prominently in my novel, we rode the path, exploring and talking to people along the way. Taking photos at the covered bridge was a highlight for me, because I’d never ridden on the trail before.
I also discovered other little alcoves and places that could potentially still be included in the story as I make my final round of edits and prep the book for publishing. Always remember, writers: a work not yet published still has room for changes. To borrow a line from Billy Joel,
And so it goes…
And so it goes…
And you’re the only one who knows.