Monday, October 29, 2007

Details, Details

Ever since I signed up and sent off my donation, I haven't been able to contain the story ideas. Getting them down without slipping into novel writing mode remains a problem, so I've decided to focus on how I can keep the momentum going once the first burst of NaNo enthusiasm begins to fizzle.

As I have already mentioned, the setting of my story is based on a road trip I took last year. There are so many details about the setting, or I should say settings, of the novel it will be difficult for me to remember them all off the top of my head. I know, its fiction, but I like authors who make the effort to get details such as the weather patterns for the season in which the novel is set correct, and buds bursting into flowers in the right place at the right time.

In this novel, the changes in the colour of the soil plays an important part. As you drive across the Nullarbor and up through Western Australia, the soil changes from white to pale yellow, through all the variations of orange and red until it reaches a deep rich burgundy.

My favourite moment of the whole trip was when I drove around a corner and saw the sun shine striking the the burgundy sand covering a mount making it glow fluorescent. I was so taken with the sight of it that I had returned to the state of a child who chases a ball across the road without looking and in my moment of inattentiveness drove off the road. I would like to put a variation of this in my novel, but was it at Mount Gibson or Mount Singleton? I have to dig through my travel diary to find out. And just how many hundreds of miles is it between one metropolis and another on the Great Northern Highway. I'll need to check.

I guess I'm lucky because being a bibliophile, I bought a number of books while in WA on the geology of the area, campsites, rest areas and national parks, and what WA is most famous for as a tourist destination, a guide to the wildflowers. These combined with my notebooks, should give me the type of details that will enrich the sense of place I hope to create.

I still have the map I used with the route I took highlighted and I've displayed it on a huge pin board covering the width of one of the walls in my office. Over the next couple of days, I'm going to flick through my books, diary and my NaNo novel notebook and start adding addendum's to the map with information like the geology of the area, flowers in season, natural catastrophe's like the bush fire the burnt out the camping ground we were going to stay at at Hopetoun and the major events in the story that I can turn into scenes like the one that happens at Bunda Cliffs at one of the lookout points along the Great Australian Bight.

For me, thinking about details like these inspire new story ideas. The trick is to have the general details on hand in a visual format so you don't get lost in hunting them down and lose your momentum.

I don't now which details will find their way into my novel, but it's comforting knowing they are there like a security blanket just in case I need them.


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