Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Forays in Fiction: Landscape

The Columbia River Watershed

I mentioned here last December when I signed on to the Book Drum project that I was justifying it in part because it fit with a project I needed to do in order to move forward with one of my WIP in which the main POV character had as intimate and comprehensive a knowledge of The River Why as its protagonist Gus Orviston had of Walton's Compleate Angler. She is able to quote lengthy passages and ruminates on scenes and characters walk in her dreams. But in order to do this, I needed to re-read the book and not just a quick for fun re-read but a careful, contemplative, and close page-by-page with pencil in hand re-read.

I'd known this for years but kept putting it off. Then the Book Drum opportunity presented and I immediately saw it as just the right kick-im-the-pants. Its the perfect project for my penchant for collecting research materials while giving me a useful venue to share that material while it percolates into the story substrata where it needs to settle and stew before it surfaces again as story elements uniquely suited to my story world.

The Snake River Cuts Through Hells Canyon on the Oregon-Idaho Border

Today I prepared several Book Drum bookmarks related to settings while simultaneously preparing the Settings section of the profile. I got an eyeful of maps and landscape. And it is already at work on my sense of my story's landscape. I began to get glimmers of how landscape acts on character as dramatically and irrevocably as character acts on landscape. I had 'learned' during NaNo last November that the progenitors of the five to seven generations in my storyworld had settled in Idaho sometime in the late 1880s or very early 1890s (about a generation before WWI). I knew that sometime between the World Wars some members broke away and some of them settled in SW Washingtion and others in The Rogue Valley in Oregon. But that was as far as I got.

The Seven Devils Peaks on the Easter (Idaho) Rim of Hells Canyon

Today I saw the landscape that seemed tailor made to draw to itself those craving isolation and provide them with both the resources and the rationale to insulate further, fear deeper, and grow more rigid in thought and deed with each succeeding decade.

The Deschutes River Meets the Columbia in Eastern Oregon

And I saw some other locales that could have played a role in the journey of this family from the east coast or the subsequent journeys of the few who turned their backs on them and their untenable utopia to strike out on their own, escaping the percolating paranoia yet at times wistful for the companionship and collaboration; the safety and certitude. And I begin to understand how some of the children of the exiles who had been too young to comprehend the tensions and terrors beneath the surface but old enough to remember their original home with fondness and longing, might dare to return with their own children...

Some of those are pictured here but many are not as so few were Creative Commons or Public Domain and thus not usable for Book Drum and thus not downloaded.

The Firehole River in Yellowstone Park Wyoming

Well whatever else comes of today's efforts I've gotten a valuable brush-up on my Pacific Northwest history and geography and learned some things I don't remember ever knowing.

0 tell me a story:

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