Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Best Part About Vacations...

I love August-September.

It's usually around these months that my husband and I start discussing where we're going to go for our anniversary. The past two years we've gone to the same place (Disneyland!), but this year we've decided to try something new.

We're going to New Orleans!

I went to New Orleans when I was around 16, and I remember loving everything about the city. I love history, and as you read in my last post, I love researching everything about new stories I'm working on.

And what an amazing place to research for a story! New Orleans? Yes, please!

In a city rich with history ranging from real history to all the wonderful ghost stories you could dream of, why wouldn't you want to visit? I am super excited to be going there as an adult, too... I can't wait to finally go on my bayou swamp tour and visit all those wonderful Creole-Cajun cities you can only visit via the water! What delicious story ideas! - One of the plantations we'll be visiting.

Acadian Village - Historical Reenactments -

The problem with writing a story, if you've ever tried to write one based in a real city you've never lived in or visited, is that it's next-to-impossible to capture the real "vibe" of the city. You can never fully capture the essence. The details. And you know what they say about the devil and those details... So you will notice it's not something I attempt. There's a reason for it.

Authenticity, my dear friends.

So I am beyond excited to be visiting New Orleans, and getting to really delve into the city. We're going for ten (10!!!) days, and to celebrate, as I do every year, I've purchased a new wardrobe for the trip. (I'm a jeans and t-shirt kinda girl, so when we go on vacation I like to dress up for my husband. It's my way of celebrating our time together.) I'm also stocking up on memory cards for my camera, and you can be sure I'll be taking along an expanding file so I can keep all of our awesome tour maps and brochures. (Not only does it make for wonderful scrapbooking material, it doubles as memory-joggers for storytelling!)

Expanding file I like to use. Available at office supply stores.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Researching: Is It Half the Fun?

As you read in the last post, I've been working on a new piece lately.

Honestly, I haven't touched it in a couple of weeks, but that's mostly because I've been sick. (And not really the point, either!)

Here's the premise:
Sometimes life can just be too overwhelming. Sometimes the people you trust most betray you in impossible ways. Sometimes, you just need to break free.

When Juliet's CEO-father decides to announce his plans to marry her off to the heir of an oil company at her sweet sixteen birthday party in front of a room full of people she doesn't even know, she decides now is that time.

Living on the run isn't easy, but day-after-day the tiny, elitist corner of the world Juliet has been born and raised in expands before her very eyes. With her fake IDs and stolen trust fund, she moves from small town to small town, living on odd jobs and trying desperately to stay one step ahead of her father's guards--desperate to bring her back and secure the merger with the oil company.

Juliet is determined not to be found. But when her father brings in the one person who would do anything to find her, Juliet isn't so sure she wants to stay lost anymore.

Okay, so it's a rough edit, but you get the idea. Anyway, I started doing a ton of research on small towns in the U.S., searching for different small towns to base Juliet in. And oh my gosh, I literally lost days researching these towns. I found this amazing website:, and just kept clicking. I took notes, jotted down some of my favorite cities, and even started looking at the town's websites and doing more in-depth research. Now I even want to visit some of them!

And this isn't the first time I've done something like this. I wrote a story based in space once, and I lost days researching facts about the planets, our solar system, and anything else I could find. Research is amazing, and with the internet right in front of us, it's easy to get lost learning new things.

And it really made me wonder--is research half the fun?