In the writing room right now ...

In the writing room right now ... I have taken down the brown "butcher" paper that held ideas, photos, drawings, and my hand-drawn maps and plot outlines for the past five or six books. I've placed all those items into three-ring binders, and cleared the deck for paintings and photographs that involve courage, as I move forward in GHOSTKEEPER, the new novel set in Lyndonville, Vermont. My 1850 Vermont adventure THE LONG SHADOW is under contract with Five Star/Cengage -- I will give you a publication date as soon as I know! Scribbling lots of poems, too. And there's a possible route to publication of the "Vermont Nancy Drew" novel I built on Wattpad (see right-hand column). Yes, I guess I do like multi-tasking! How about you?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Where Plot Ideas Come From: Tracks in the Snow

Turkey track, solo ... or so you might think

Two clusters of turkey tracks crossing the stream: Look closely.

Mourning dove, "pigeon toed."
It's cold here this weekend -- bursts of snow keep arriving, and it was nine degrees when I went outside. Although the chickadees call (their two-note mating call) in early morning, the woods go nearly silent later in the day, as we all hold our warmth close, self-protection in what can still be wild winter on the ridge. Tonight's forecast threatens subzero temperatures, not unusual for mid March, although it won't last. The trees are signaling buds and more.

Silent though the woods can be, the larger birds are on the move. With the snowcover down to a fragile couple of inches, seeds are everywhere for them with just a quick scratch. How different they are from one breed to another, though. See the solo turkey track in the first photo? It could fool you if you don't follow further -- the second photo, taken not far from the first, reveals that a family of at least half a dozen turkeys passed along here, crossing the stream around the same point.

The third photo means a lot to me as I work slowly to bind all the plot threads together in my "Nancy Drew-style" mystery, ALL THAT GLITTERS. I'm in the last few chapters and it has to go "right" in order to build to the climax I want. There are homing pigeons involved in the plot -- and the tracks in photo 3 are of mourning doves, the wilder sort of pigeon here on the high ridge. I hear their plaintive calls all morning. See how the footprints angle back to each other, always crossing, as the round-bodied bird appears to waddle along? That's where we get the expression "pigeon-toed" -- to walk with one's toes pointed inward, so the right and left feet appear to leave crisscross trails.

The cold air, the photo, the reflection on pigeons, and then, breakfast with strangers at Polly's Pancakes in Sugar Hill, NH, where you often share a table as the staff packs everyone in -- that's what it took to move me to the next component of ALL THAT GLITTERS. Suddenly, I know what's coming next.

PS - You can read the chapters as they are written, at WattPad:

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