Picking A Location

Today I found the perfect location for my newest novel, Paradigm.

Color pushpins

I have been researching places this manuscript could be set in for a while now, and picking a location can be hard! But during my lunch I found it—sitting on top of a trash can at Barnes and Noble.

No seriously, that’s really where I found it. It being a travel book about Big Bend.

Several scenes in the first half of my novel rely on the setting in order for them to work. After I finished the first draft, I made a list of said things.

Scenic markers the location must have:

  1. Hot Springs (for one of my steamier scenes *wink*)
  2. Cliffs
  3. A river that can be very wide and deep in certain locations
  4. Tall trees (You’d think I wouldn’t have to specify ‘tall’ but where I live most of the trees are short)
  5. Fairly warm climate in the winter
  6. Remote

Over the past couple months, I’ve spent a few days here and there researching locations. When looking for a location for this specific book, I started by looking for places with hot springs. From there I did a lot of narrowing down. These places had cliffs, but it’s too cold. These places were warmer, but the hot springs were too commercialized (not remote). That place has the perfect river, but no, those trees are short.

Ultimately, I settled on a place that would work just fine. I was starting a hard edit soon, and didn’t want to be so hung up on location that I wouldn’t be able do any descriptive setting work, so I chose. Still, I wasn’t crazy about the place, and I couldn’t tell you why.

Fast-forward to the end of my lunch today, where I found that wonderful travel book on top of the trash can. Tons of people put the books they’ve decided not to buy on top of the trash receptacles at Barnes and Noble, so I’m used to ignoring them, but today…

Something told me to pick up that book. I did and almost set it back down because it was set in Texas. Not that there’s anything wrong with Texas, I live here for gosh sakes! But I had decided early on that while I need a fairly warm location for the book, Texas winters were a little too warm. I mean, I wore a tank top outside right up until the week before Christmas.

Still, something told me not to put the book down. So instead I took it too my table, where I immediately flipped through the index for hot springs. OMG, there were hot springs. In fact, Big Bend and the surrounding areas have everything—even something I’d given up from an earlier version of my list, a desert.

I spent the rest of my lunch looking through that book, and I flew through my edits today! Of course, there’s still tons of stuff to learn about the area, but I this place just feels right.

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