Thursday, April 10, 2008

Southern Gothic--Or Why Do I Keep Setting Novels in Florida?

Vesta is turning into a Southern Gothic novel. I wasn't going for that, but that's where it's going none the less. This will be the second novel set in central Florida. One might deduce from that that I like Florida. Nothing could be further from the truth. I lived in Florida for several years and, other than being excited to wear shorts on Thanksgiving the first year, did not like it at all. For many reasons. But here I am having set my first two novels there. And the next one? Plans are for that to be set in Florida as well. Hmm.

The rule is "Write what you know." It's not "Write what you like." Do I know Florida better than anyplace else? No, I lived in Michigan longer and in Colorado longer than either. And I liked them both better than Florida. So why Florida? Maybe I'm working out something. Maybe it feels more menacing to me so I feel comfortable having bad things happen to my characters there. Again I say, "hmmm."

Where do you set your stories? Is it somewhere you know? I realize the answers will be very different for SF/F writers. But do the places feel familiar? Do you like the settings? Does it make a difference?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Springtime In The Rockies

I've heard many people say that there is no spring in Colorado. That we just go from winter to summer. But I disagree. Today is a perfect Colorado spring day. When I left for my lunch break it was in the mid to upper fifties and sunny. No jacket needed. By the time I returned to the office less than an hour later, I had to pull on the jacket I keep in the car for just these instances because it was snowing.

Maybe these people come from someplace I've never been in the spring. Because Michigan had vastly changeable weather in the spring, and fall. Florida was just more or less hot, as was Arizona. But this is spring the way we have it Colorado. And I rather enjoy it. Nothing at all boring about it. Summer here can get a little monotonous. "Mostly sunny to partly cloudy, highs in the eighties with a 30% change of late afternoon or early evening thunderstorms." Forecast 1A for the better part of June and July. Substitute nineties for later in the summer.

I've been feeling pretty monotonous myself lately. Not taking my cues from Mother Nature. So I'm thinking about changing it up a little. I've felt myself drawn to do some things other than writing. "Drawn" is a good word because I've felt like drawing again. Maybe trying watercolors. And the banjo is calling to me as well. And the books that have been piling up on the nightstand really want to be read. I'm thinking the balloon needs a bit of air, the well a little water.

As wise woman--okay, it was Jenny paraphrasing Ali--said to focus on what I've been getting done and not on what I haven't. Good advice. I think I was starting to fall into my April habit. Worrying about how much I'm not ready for the conference. Except there's no conference for me this year. Just for this reason. So time to lighten up.

And the spring days are getting longer so I have more light to play by. Yep, gotta love spring.