The Grand Canyon National Park.
I've been there many times as a tourist, but I needed specific information since one of the characters is a park ranger. And another character becomes lost. So I needed to know the correct procedures, etc.
Now I could have found all this info by phone, email and/or contacting the nearest national park service.
But look at this view? What could be more exciting than to actually go there?
We were camped a mere 150 miles away in the Sedona area. (the locale of my other wip) so my cousin who hasn't been there since she was fifteen was game to do a day trip. We packed up a picnic lunch and had a blast.
And we obtained some really useful information. Not just for this book, but for a whole series.
We're writers. Right? So any stimulation sets our brains to rambling with "what ifs" and "supposes."
The park ranger I interviewed, told me stories guaranteed to excite your imagination. For example, there was the story of the woman's pack found by hikers on the trail. Sure enough, the rangers found her body several thousand feet down, but she had in her hands human hair that wasn't hers. They searched more and found below her a teenage boy.
So what is your imagination doing with this info?
Mine pictured all kinds of possibilities. Was she pushed and she grabbed the assailant's hair? Was the boy someone she knew? Was she having a snack and he fell past her and she tried to rescue him? Was he trying to steal her pack and the tussle resulted in the fall? Were they two hikers who met on the trail and were sharing a snack and the boy tripped?
Now mind you, I had just finished Mary Connealy's WRANGLER IN PETTICOATS, where Sally had been shot off a cliff in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone National Park, so this story the ranger told me set my imagination off.
There are more stories in the book, OVER THE EDGE: DEATH IN GRAND CANYON by Michael Ghiglieri and Thomas Myers, which was recommended by the helpful clerks in one of the park's visitor centers.
There were two clerks and one of them is a writer. So of course we hit it off and exchanged email addresses. Now these women are going to be great people to contact if I have further questions down the road.
The park ranger was extremely informative. Did you know they have a ranger assigned to Public Relations who speaks specifically with authors, the press, etc.? They want the correct information going into published works. And she sat with me in front of a crackling fire and answered all my questions. She even brought out samples of the equipment they use in search and rescue such as the radios. (There's very limited cell reception out there)
At one of the observation sites, there was a ranger standing around to answer questions. You can imagine how much fun that was. He was probably bored standing there so was having as much fun as we were sharing all of his experiences and knowledge.
He dispatched more information and also recommended the book PARK RANGER, TRUE STORIES FROM A RANGER'S CAREER by Nancy Eileen Muleady=Mecham.
So if you have a wip in mind and have the opportunity to actually visit the setting and locale, you can get stimulated with ideas and information. I could hardly wait to get home and start writing. This not only gave me a boost, but all the new information is going to add depth and believability to my wip.
Don't be shy to talk to people in the field. Most people love to talk about their work, their lives and themselves. They love to share with someone who is genuinely interested. Their stories will spark your imagination and give you ideas for your characters.
Seeing the actual locale brings it alive in your mind, therefore bringing it alive on print for the reader. I now have photos to look at and take me there when I'm writing.
So have I inspired you to go out and explore in your area?
I hope so.
And in light of our Thanksgiving holiday coming up, I have to say I'm soooooo thankful for our national forefathers who had the wisdom to set aside national parks for us to enjoy. The national park system does such a fantastic job of displaying information that shows the cultural history, geological and physical history, the unique features of the the flora and fauna.
Please share in your comments any exciting adventures that stimulated your wip. All those who comment have a chance to win a Seeker book. I'll be picking two winners so please share.
And if you need a snack, we passed through the Navajo Reservation where there are vendors who sell Indian fry bread.
This is like a cross between a tortilla and pita stuffed with beans or dribbled with honey. Yum. One of the ladies offered to serve some during the day, so help yourself.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE
We are so thankful to have all of you as friends here in Seekerville.