If we were having coffee today I’d have to hurry because I’ve been busy researching and want to get back to it. Book three in my Traces of Treasure series has been off to a slow start and I am finally making some progress. I’m pretty much what they call a “pantser” in my writing. Well, a total pantser just starts writing, as if by the seat of their pants, going wherever the story may take them. I’m not that hard-core. I have the germ of an idea and I cobbled together a basic outline based on that idea.
But at this stage of the story, early in, I tend to get bogged down in simple details. I want to set the stage just right, and possibly set up for future action. Working in the past (the story is set in 1983) is tricky and I am in a somewhat unfamiliar locale. Limited resources prevent me from traveling there so I use a combination of Google maps & Satellite views and USGS topographic maps to help me. I’m lucky on the latter because I can get USGS maps from the past. Most of my action takes place in far West Texas so things don’t change too much. But they do change, so I rely on the topographic map to keep me in the time frame.
I used to buy the maps for some location work. Ironically, one of the characters in my first book did the same thing, spreading them out on the floor with a huge magnifying glass and a big lamp. Now, you can get those same maps in PDF format. I have to say, zooming the PDF gives one a much better view than any magnifying glass. Awesome details emerge.
I found something so interesting, I had to write to the actual ranch I identified in the PDF to get some clarification. I hope they write back. They should. It’s a big operation and they have their own web page and had detailed contact information. It’s a working ranch so I’ll have to be patient. It is funny where research takes you. Their web page had a history of their ranch and it was a fascinating look into a place I’d never heard of before. But it was a typical story too, one small piece of history that helps to fill in an overall sense of time and place. Really interesting.
It feels really good to be actively writing again. Getting excited about this story. I think it is going to rival the other two in suspense and mystery. I had to take off so long because of my eyes, then got lazy because of that downtime, it’s been tough to start up again. Today was the first day I felt like I was really back.
Thomas Fenske is a writer living in North Carolina. Yes, a writer. And he’s writing. I promise. More info: http://thefensk.com