First off. Thanks to everyone who entered my contest. The winner is Christine Fonseca. I’ve got a copy of The Chosen One ready to mail to her.
Last week I spent an evening paddling an inflatable kayak down Goldstream Creek.
The optimal time to float Goldstream is just after the surface ice breaks up and the creek is high, basically two to three feet of water flowing over ice that has yet to melt. It’s a fun little crash through a tunnel of brush.
Just three miles down the road from Goldstream is O’Connor Creek.
What you see in the photo, taken the same day as the other photos, is called overflow ice. When O’Connor starts to freeze up in the fall there is enough pressure in this small stream that the water is forced upward through the ice. The water flows on top of the ice that’s already formed and then refreezes. This goes on all winter long if the air temperature is cold enough, which is not a problem here. Ice forms several feet thick and spreads out thirty or forty feet across, all from a trickle of a stream.
O’Conner breaks up differently than Goldstream. I’ve seen ice in O’Conner Creek at the end of June. Here it is in May.
Seeing these two creeks, so different yet they share the same valley, got me thinking about setting and how authentic, specific details can bring a work to life.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of beta-reading one of Terry Lynn Johnson’s WIPs. She uses specific setting details to continually drive the story forward. One of the many ways we get to know her MC is through her physical, psychological and emotional responses to her setting.
My mantra when I revise for setting is: “Sparse but specific.”
I just sent my newest WIP to my agent and am starting a new novel. What are you working on this week? And, do you have any favorite writing mantras?