Friday, May 6, 2011

Where Did That Come From? -- Setting

As a teenager, I lived in a rural town in Southern Utah. (Ok. I still live there.) I read books about faraway places where the city was big or the kingdom was immense. I read pretty widely and thought that to be effective, books had to have really sweeping settings.

I didn't have sweeping settings. What I did have is some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet. I didn't realize it at the time, but people come from all around the world to see the red rock canyons of Bryce Canyon and Zions National Park and the Grand Canyon. There's hiking and fishing and camping and skiing and an endless number of things to do outside. All within about two hours of where I live.

I spent so many summers in the mountains to the east of my little city. My grandparents have a family cabin somewhere near the top of Cedar Mountain. Just a short walk from the cabin, you can get lost in a forest of pine and Quakies. Dappled shadows cover the ground. If you walk far enough, you'll find a quiet lake, not much bigger than a pond. It's a fishing spot, but it's out of the way, so a lot of people go to the one by the side of the road instead. There's a little creek that feeds into the lake from one side and a marsh at the other where the water drains away. The sky reflects off the surface in little ripples as the wind dances. It was my favorite spot in the whole world.

I didn't know that years later, as I started a fairy tale story, that it was the places I knew best that would be most inspiring to my work. That little forest inspired the Beast's forest.

So, friends, have you ever been somewhere that you wanted to write about?


Ashley Nixon said...

Well, I live in what I called a "forest" lol. I'm from Oklahoma, and we live in a very wooded area. My brother and I would always go on adventures in the creek area behind our house. There were several hills, trees to climb, areas in the creek filled so deep with water we'd sometimes fall in and get soaking wet. I love these memories, and it's stuff like this that inspires my characters adventures too.

Then when I went to Ireland and spent time in the cold, cold salty sea, in the foggy moutains, and on velvet shores, I had even more inspiration for my writings.

Where you grew up really sounds beautiful. My mom grew up in Arizona, and she'd always tell us stories of the mountains. :)

Jess said...

I LOVE your area of the country! Utah has some of the most amazing national parks around, and I have fond memories of hiking in Canyonlands NP/Arches and Bryce Canyon/Zion.

We did a lot of road trips to parks around the country, and that influenced what I wanted to do career-wise. Strangely enough, those landscapes don't show up in my writing so much. Seasons do though. I can't seem to get through a manuscript without an autumn scene or two :)

Lydia K said...

I've written about New York and my new hometown in the midwest. It's been fun using what I know in my stories.

ajkulig said...

Being a military wife has been hard, but at the same time one of the most difficult things--moving constantly, really helped me with writing. I have lived near/in several big cities: Houston, San Antonio, New Orleans, Las Vegas, and lots of smaller places too. It never seems like I have been enough places no matter how many I have been to though ;)