I’ve been working on my next novel for Walker/Bloomsbury, WAKE UP MISSING. It’s a science-gone-wrong novel, set in the Everglades, and while I’m in this early drafting stage, I’ve been looking back at my photos a lot for inspiration for the setting. Here are five photos that helped tonight:
This is an early-morning swamp photograph, when all the spider webs were heavy with dew. I tried to spend time in the swamp during all different times of day, so I could get a sense for what it would be like for my characters through the book and so I could best use those different times-of-day details to reflect the mood of the various scenes. I really loved this early morning quiet.
I also love listening to the sounds of a place I’m going to be writing about. From this barren branch high above the boardwalk, this red-shouldered hawk screamed at me for a good three or four minutes. “DAAAAANGER…..DAAAAAAAANGER…”
This is a strangler fig, a parasitic plant that quite literally hugs its host tree to death. Hello, metaphor.
These last two aren’t Everglades photos and don’t really have anything to do with my research; they’re just fun.
My family spent a morning at Barefoot Beach north of Naples, which is not only a lovely beach but also a gopher tortoise sanctuary. It said so on a sign right by the entrance gate, and just as we paid our parking fee, along came a tortoise as if to prove the point that it really was a sanctuary.
These signs near the beach walkway puzzled us a bit.
Is the sign meant to discourage well-meaning people who might want to, say, capture a land tortoise and take it swimming? Or is it intended to remind the land tortoises that they don’t swim, lest they get excited on a hot day and go running ambling into the Gulf of Mexico, only to say, “Oh darn! Bob, I forgot that we’re land tortoises! If only there’d been a sign to remind us about that whole swimming problem…”
Those last two photos aside, I’m always amazed by how much a few photographs can help bring me back to not only the sights but also the sounds and smells of places I’ve visited for research. I’m curious…if you write, do you like to use photographs for inspiration? How do they help?