Travel and Writing
As you read this, I should be on a yacht on the Adriatic Sea, traveling from Split to Dubrovnik. If things go as planned, and I did the calendar calculations right, today I’m en route from Korcula to Mljet, where the published itinerary says:
In the morning head further south to the Island of Mljet. Join the Cruise Manager for a stroll to the famous salt lakes in the Mljet National Park. Lunch on board and departure for a small village called Slano on the mainland, a peaceful fishermen’s village and the starting point to Ston, another once fortified small village famous for its oysters situated on Pelješac peninsula. Pelješac peninsula is known as one of the best wine-producing regions in Croatia. After exploring the town, we leave to a small nearby village to enjoy the authentic local oyster tasting. Tonight, enjoy Captain’s dinner and overnight in Slano.
A while back, I talked about dealing with far away settings in your writing. What am I going to be doing on this trip as far as writing is concerned? (And being able to write off travel expenses is a great motivation for incorporating the setting into a book.) When we toured the British Isles, I thought I’d write a short, sappy romance and be done with it, but I’m not wired that way. There had to be some sort of mystery. I figure that’s what’s going to come out of this trip, too.
I also have a manuscript due next month, so I’ll be spending some time on that, too. How much is unknown, as we’ll have a busy schedule, but my “spare” time will be divided between researching a new book and working on the one I have to finish.
First, the “Can’t/Won’t do” stuff.
- Use Croatians as protagonists. That would require far more research then I have time for.
- Have my protagonists solving crimes. They have no jurisdiction in another country.
- Opportunities for dead bodies might present themselves (like finding a body in a tun in a whisky distillery in Scotland), but realistically, American citizens can’t investigate crimes in other countries, and if they’re on a tour, they’ll be somewhere else the next day.
The “Can do” stuff.
- Do informal investigating as long as it doesn’t interfere with the local law enforcement.
- Offer insights and observations to the officials in charge.
What will I be doing?
- Taking pictures, of course, both what my first photography instructor called “record shots” and the more creative ones that our group will be taking.
- Noting the food (a given for me)
- People watching to come up with and flesh out characters.
- Talking to others on the tour, and the boat crew.
- Taking note of the climate.
- Taking note of anything “Croatian” that will add depth to secondary characters.
What I don’t have is a plot, or much of a plan. I want to let the experience drive the story, not me trying to force a preconceived idea into what I find there.
I do know that I’d like it to continue what I began with Heather’s Chase: Not a sequel, but another stand alone novel marketed as “An International Mystery Romance” which leaves the door open for more. That means I’ll need a hero and heroine. They’ll probably meet on the tour, simply because that’s the genre expectation. They’ll have conflicts, but will be drawn together by the mystery in some way. Maybe working against each other, but eventually, they will have to have that promise of a happily ever after.
As I write this, I have no idea what kind of connectivity we’ll have on this trip. I doubt I’ll be around to respond to comments, but I know everyone here at TKZ will carry on the conversation.
What travels/locations have inspired your writing? What advice do you have to share?
Available Now Trusting Uncertainty, Book 10 in the Blackthorne, Inc. series.
You can’t go back and fix the past. Moving on means moving forward.