We’ve been traveling a lot this year...fun, but it’s also a wonderful opportunity for researching unfamiliar locales. Some places are such a surprise, revealing unexpected aspects that I'd never imagined. And everywhere, I see opportunities for adding rich details to story settings that I might want to use someday.
When you travel, do you begin to imagine plot twists and sneaky characters at every turn?
We just returned from a week at a lovely resort on Chesapeake Bay, not far from Cambridge, Maryland. My husband’s company held its annual meeting there, but while the employees were busy in meetings all day I spent some time exploring the small town and the surrounding area.
My biggest surprise—jellyfish! Unbelievable numbers of them—floating like wispy, gelatinous little clouds at the surface of the water every evening and very visible along the long pier leading out into the water in front of the resort. They brought back some very unpleasant memories of jellyfish encounters in the ocean in Mexico, believe me…but also, got me thinking. Being a Midwestern gal, I’d never dreamed that there could be jellyfish that far north…and not that far from Washington DC. What a twist that could be in a romantic suspense plot, if someone planned an escape across those waters!
The language, vernacular, and local culture of an area always fascinate me wherever we go. Today, with the world at our fingertips via the Internet, we can research facts in seconds. But there’s nothing quite like being there—talking to the locals, seeing how friendly a community is, picking up literature on their regional festivities and other events. The vegetation, the hidden creatures, the different sounds of the bullfrogs and the birds, all can add such verisimilitude to the small details that make a story seem real.
I would love to hear about where you live! Can you imagine a great mystery or suspense novel unfolding in your community? What are some of the unique and interesting details about life where you are?
Blessings to you all!