So, if you live in Maine (or anywhere in New England for that matter), this picture above probably describes how you felt today. On three separate occasions today, I spent time digging out my door from impending snowdrifts, and even futilely attempted to dig out the staircase at ground level before the wind filled it all back in again.
Doing all that work in the bitter cold and cutting wind was, however, a welcome experience for me. Why? Because as I’ve now sat down with a nice hot cup of tea, I’ve returned to an apocalyptic story set during the Maine winter that I’d begun a couple years ago and lost my focus on. The characters have been speaking to me for a while as I’ve been working on other projects and I know I can’t ignore them any longer. I feel as though I’ve found the right mood, the right voice, and the right way to tell this story now and I can’t wait to really buckle down and work on it.
That is what blustery inhospitable winter days are for; being productive! Several of my other writer friends seized the opportunity to write today and I followed right after them. Because my main character is suddenly faced with the reality of surviving in a dangerous environment alone in the midst of late fall/early winter, there are things that coincide with what people face in the prospect of a winter storm that takes out the power. Water, heat, shelter, and food are the four bases.
Since this story is a very character driven story, I’ve spent lots of time observing journal accounts of people doing solitary treks along trails, watching documentaries, and of course, finding just the right music/ambient sounds to listen to while working. Thankfully, because the wind is so strong and the snow so icy, I’ve had enough ambience to last me all day. All I added was a little Martin Stig Andersen “Limbo Soundtrack”. Having just that last bit of atmosphere assists me in describing the overall feeling that I want to portray in this book. Lonely, quiet, reflective, and remorseful…and a string of hope as well.
Sometimes, going out there and experiencing what my character might be experiencing really helps me connect. It’s certainly not as traumatic as the things she encounters in the course of the novel, but it still brings me a step closer than I was. While winter storms as powerful as this one can also be resource-limiting (not to mention a pain in the ass to clean up after), I’m glad we got it. It gave me the kick in the pants that I needed to get going again on this story.
Otherwise, I’d have spent this winter eating too much chocolate and watching the rest of “True Detective” and reading the rest of the Harry Potter books.
…That still might happen…
Until next time,