Tag Archives: on writing

Five: Inspiring Places (U.S. Edition)

Setting is such an important part of a story to me. A lot of times, I build whole stories from the inspiration of a setting. I think I’ve probably written entire fictional worlds based on mental or real pictures of a single place. Here are some of my favorites.

1. New Orleans


Mid- and southern Louisiana, too, but New Orleans mostly. I don’t know if it’s all the unsettling history in the still air and rising water, I don’t know if it’s the French influence, I don’t know if it’s the mélange of culture and beliefs, all I know is that for about two years in college, I didn’t write anything that wasn’t set in New Orleans or surrounding it, and most of what I read was set there, too.

2. Washington State


When I found out Twilight was set in Washington, it made perfect sense to me. Better with You (oh man that one needs an edit bad) is set in Washington, too. It’s beautiful and cool and relaxed, and the geography lends itself well to adventure. Plus, there’s an abundance of my favorite kind of house, giving my heroines cute, cozy places to live and make their lives.

3. Isolated stretches of New England coastline


I’ve thoroughly enjoyed New England every time I’ve been. One of the drafted novellas I have is getting a change of setting, and it was finding out about the lighthouses that finally flicked on the light in the dark room of my mind called How To Fix This Vexing Story.

4. Desert


Hot and dry and, at first glance, dead, the desert is a good place to keep secrets and to find history and to get lost. It’s a good place to put characters to see what happens.

5. Big Sky Country


There’s something really liberating about wide-open spaces, and Montana has them in abundance. It’s so expansive. It’s ready for small stories with a big backdrop, for cowboys and cowgirls and people looking to pretend, for isolation and character exploration.

On Writing: At Least I’m Thinking About It?

It has been such a busy week.

School started, so getting the oldest set up and into the habit of doing her schoolwork was a priority, but her computer died and mine frustrated her, so I had to order her something that both fit into our budget and did the things she needed it to do. (I’m so grateful for clearance sales right now.) The notary I paid to help me with my I9 didn’t do half of what she was supposed to, so I had to have a friend help, and it’s always awkward asking for an official favor like that. Realizing that the kid needed her own workspace for school and I need my own workspace for, you know, work led to a total-house deep-clean and rearranging the Lady Cave (the family room; since the husband has his man cave, the big one decided to call our girls-only family room the Lady Cave… yes, I know what it sounds like, and that’s the whole reason I agreed to call it what she calls it) and the guest room. The weather has kind of wreaked havoc on the pool, so evenings have been spent trying to keep it from getting too bad, since there’s only another six weeks or so of regular swimming available. And in my spare time (lol what is that) I’ve been pursuing side gigs: website user testing, search engine evaluation (I’m in the middle of the exam part of the application for that, and there’s a LOT of studying to be done), research (I failed one task request and just straight up couldn’t do two more, so I’ve been doing a lot of studying between attempts), and Mechanical Turk (lots of small tasks, but finding the right ones to do can be kind of time-consuming for the payoff, so I’m still trying to learn that). So I haven’t had a lot of time for writing, not even for editing, though I’ve definitely been thinking about it.

Cass, for example, seems to be gently reminding me about the planned sequel, Cass and the Girls Next Door, and letting me know she’s really pretty interested in it if I don’t mind. 

I stumbled across these lighthouses for sale. Once I accepted that the husband probably isn’t ready for that much isolation, I’ve been wondering how I could use it in a story. Maybe a story about an adventurous cook from the Southwest interested in a change of scenery and challenging her recipe-building skills? She doesn’t seem to have any interest in romance which will be new for me, too. Not that romance and smut are in everything I write, but, let’s be real, it’s in most of what I write. 

The novella draft I’ve had sitting in Yarny and on my hard drive and now in Google Docs for years might have just solved itself. It has so many problems. I’ve poked at it over the last few years, but I haven’t been able to fix it. Until I was washing dishes this week and thought, “What if I just make it gay?” Changing my hero into a heroine fixes so much of it and makes it so much more interesting. I already had most of the reason behind their being thrown together worked out; making them lesbians works out the rest of it, eliminates a major problem, cleans up the drama, and makes the whole thing seem neater and more pull-together. 

Digging around in old fic for a friend brought up some gems I’d completely forgotten about that don’t really feel like they belong in fandom, so it may be worth it to explore how they fare as originals.

I also ordered a nifty lighted cover for my five-year-old Kindle. UPS lost the first one, so I had to buy a second one, and it came in today. It’s so pretty. Now I can turn the lamp off and read in bed!