Tuesday, March 12

Colorado...or Wyoming?

It's no secret I live in Colorado. I have also lived in Arizona, N. California, Texas and Mississippi. But the majority of my life has been spent in the Centennial state. I know it pretty well, and have been to most parts of it. One place I have not visited, but would love to, is the Sand Dunes.

I digress.

Most of my stories are set in Colorado, in the San Juan mountains, where these photos were taken. It's just easy, setting my stories in the place I know like the back of my hand.

I have a new WIP. I set it first in Las Vegas, then Wyoming. I have never visited Las Vegas or Wyoming. Not once. Not a biggie. There's Google and a whole lot of websites out there, right?

Wrong! Oh, Vegas is easy enough.

But...I spent most of my valuable writing time yesterday trying to find out if the Medicine Bow mountains look like the San Juans. From site to site to site, I hopped. It was very difficult for me to get a clear picture. Because my story is set on a ranch (where else?) I Googled dude ranches. OMG. One had mountains, one had plains.

It was a nightmare, really.

I finally decided to use my active imagination and make up my ranch. I hope no Wyoming expert gets hold of my book and rips it to shreds for my bad research.

20 comments:

  1. The best part of writing fiction is the ability to make up our own towns and terrain! Great pics!

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  2. I love making up my own area within a 'real' place...did that with my Texas books. I think the key is to have your place clear in your mind - so that when you're writing you're not looking to see if there are mountains or whatever...you just know they're there. Readers are along for the ride, so know what you want the setting to be like and go for it. :) Good luck!!!

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  3. I like the idea of Wyoming. And like Sheri said, it's fiction.

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  4. I often spend time researching a place and wondering what it looks like. Then a light bulb moment -- who cares? I'm an author and it can look exactly like I want it to! (that's after a couple of days, mind!)

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  5. My characters get around. I've never been to New England, to South Dakota, to California, and never the part of South Carolina where one of the books is set.

    As a reader, I pretty much go along with wherever the author chooses to set me down.

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  6. If it weren't for Google I think my books would all be set in my back yard - unfortunately I don't have a very exciting back yard!

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  7. I love the settings of your stories, D'Ann. And this mid-westerner would have no idea if you messed it up. To me, Montana and Colorado look the same, in my mind. LOL

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  8. I won't know if it's wrong, either. All I know about Wyoming (or Colorado!) is that it's beautiful--and I KNOW you can write beauty.

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  9. I live in Albuquerque, NM, and set my just-released book (She Likes It Irish) there. Now, most people won't know if I mess up something about Albuquerque, but those who live here would be up in arms if I got it wrong. And sometimes the internet gets it WRONG! I saw one guy's blog (from back east somewhere) referring to our Cinco de Mayo celebration as Cinquo de Maya. Yikes! I'm sure whether you go w/Colorado or Wyoming as setting, D'Ann, it'll be exciting...and isn't that the more important thing? Sophia

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  10. I wouldn't know if it was wrong either, nor would I care as long as I liked the story. I set a story in the rain forest of New Guinea. Never been there before. Saw a few pictures and took it from there.

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  11. If I ever get the opportunity to travel, Colorado is the place I'd like to visit. Not Hawaii, The Caribbean, Mexico or any other hot, tropical place. There's something so beautiful and wild about Colorado that calls to me.

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  12. LOL!!!!! Sorry, but I'm a contemporary western writer who has only been outside of Pennsylvania not more than a dozen times in her entire 43 years. And most of them were only day trips to Washington DC. I've never been west of Ohio and that was two years ago when my brother died.

    But my favorite place to write about is Texas... Why? because I've never been there and I love taking a little bit of info from Google and from the few Texan soldiers I've worked with over the years and creat my own version. And guess what? I've had several Texans who have read Gambling On A Secret tell me I hit it on the nail! Trust your instincts and your ability to create a world the seems real.

    I'd say write your book where you want it. I use Google maps a lot--in all of it's views. In fact that's what I used when I wrote the chase scenes through southern Texas in Gambling On A Heart.

    I know you can pull it off!! But in a way I understand. I've considered writing a story set in Montana, but now I know Texas so well it's just easier to write about Texas...LOL

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  13. I think as long as you don't put anything in that makes a Wyoming resident go, "No Way!". Like the time I read a short story that put fireflies outside Seattle. To my great disappointment, there are no fireflies in the Pacific NW. Not a one.

    So, as long as no polar bears pop up in Wyoming, you're probably pretty safe :)

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  14. Thank you, everyone, for coming by! I feel a little better now! And, Margie, no fireflies?? Oh, the shame!

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  15. I so sympathize with you, D'Ann! Not only do I write about places I've never been, but during times I've never experienced! London looked very different 300 years ago. LOL I do try my best to be accurate.

    I remember watching Deep Impact and toward the end when they have shots of backed up traffic next to a sign saying VA Beach 6 miles, I turned to my husband and said, "That's not what that road looks like!" It is pretty off-putting when you know something is wrong. But I personally wouldn't be able to tell if your ranch in Wyoming is right or not. I'd just assume it was. :)

    Great post!

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  16. Just put a warning on the cover: Do not purchase if you are a Wyoming rancher.

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  17. I was thrilled when one of my characters announced he was in Estes Park on business:) Fortunately, I've been there enough so I knew some key elements to throw in. But had to consult my mom when all of a sudden my character went to Denver!

    And my 2nd book begins in California on a now-closed AF base. When I began writing it (many moons ago), I was envisioning marrying my AF officer and getting the facts firsthand, so didn't worry much about details. But when I realized we weren't heading down that aisle, I interviewed him extensively and had him draw me a map before we went our separate ways. When the book was published, I issued an apology for taking 'creative license' with the area, lol!

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  18. I've been to Wyoming and the part up top looks like Montana, with mountains etcs. (Think Yellowstone Park) However when I drove out of Wyoming I believe the bottom right hand section turned to flat land. Think Nebraska

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  19. Exactly what Liza said. Yellowstone was amazing. I was a bit disillusioned with the southeastern part of the state. A bit too dry for me. I'm more for tall trees, mountains and water. :) Nice post!

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  20. Jenna, I'm with you. I pour over pictures of Regency England and have been fortunate enough to live in many of the places I write about.

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