Sunday, September 28, 2014
Oregon-- my inspiration
When writing a book, decisions will be made on plot and characters. These can come from many sources. In my opinion, one of the characters will always be the setting. A strong setting for a book does a lot to establish the reader in the story even if that setting is all imaginary.
Living or spending a lot of time in a place is not required for using a region or city as the setting. Writers can also make up settings. Outlander, which is so set in Scotland for country, ethos and energy, proves such a story can be written since Diana Gabaldon says she had not been there before she wrote the book (although she has been there many times since). What she did was a lot of research to make it seem real to the reader.
Most of my books have been set in Oregon as it is the state where I was born as well as where I have spent most of my life. It's not though why I set my stories here. That is because I love it so much. I think even when I do base a story other places, the ethos of Oregon goes with me.
I know it well because it's where I often choose to vacation. For vacations, I like to be where I can spend enough time to just sit, experience, feel the soil, smell the fragrances, dip my hand in the water, and then draw on those memories when I need them, when I yearn to return, but cannot.
Although I have traveled around the US (mostly due to circumstances that involved family or work), when it's my choice, I head for somewhere in the American West. I love this land. It speaks to me from the Rockies and Big Horns to the Pacific Ocean.
The American West is where I have based all my stories, contemporary and historical. It will be where I want my ashes put someday (although exact location I am still considering). Even when I set a story in some other state, the spirit of Oregon comes with it.
Finding just a few photos to show why Oregon is so special, why I have based ten of my books (four currently unpublished) wasn't easy. It is a diverse state with many different ecological zones. You might think you know it; but if you haven't been here a lot of years and spent time in various parts of it, you most likely do not.
Yes, those are a lot of photos and barely touch on all that I love about my home state. There are none of the Wallowas, Metolius, The Gorge, or Southern Oregon. Well maybe in a future blog because I have hundreds of photos of this place I love so much and feel fortunate to live.