Pantser Process Stage 2: I have a setting for my story. Now what?

A mirror-like lake in Yosemite, with the Sierra Mountains in the background.
Yosemite National Park, with the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the background. Is this gorgeous?

My next step is to identify some details I might be able to use.

My list of what I look for is pretty basic:

  1. What kind of common plants and trees does the area have?
  2. What kind of animals does the area have?
  3. What kind of birds does the area have?
  4. What’s the weather like?

It’s all the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  The trees are going to be the same whether it’s in Sonora or Nevada City.  So I grab a stack of Northern California books at the library and scan through fast.  I find that I have to move around resources to get what I’m looking for.  Off the Beaten Trail California was great for my last story, but here, it doesn’t have what I need.  Most of the tour books are not helpful, though I do find a section on how to pan for gold.  I decide to return to the book if I need it later and move on with my original questions.  The Moon California Waterfalls gives me a wealth of information.

For the last question, I’ll look online for historical weather.  I may not be able to get weather for that time period, so I’ll pick something that’s as far back as I can go.  But why research weather?  Does it matter?  For me, it’s just a way to simply make sure I pay attention to it.

As I write this, I’m already thinking about how to reuse what I’ve already found for a second story.  After all, I just got a story accepted, so now I have to get another one done and out. 🙂 Maybe I could get started on a modern day story while I dig around the history a little more.

By the way, while I grew up in California, I’ve never been to Gold Rush territory.  So I’m being a book and online tourist here.

4 thoughts on “Pantser Process Stage 2: I have a setting for my story. Now what?

    • Linda Adams July 25, 2013 / 8:12 pm

      I’m going to be enjoying the next stage — looking at photos!


  1. Blazing Portals July 23, 2013 / 8:33 pm

    It’s a lovely setting indeed! I am biased, however, because I am also from California, and there are some pretty fabulous sights all over the state. I initially came to your blog because I was reading reviews about Teiberr, your blog-site showed up, and I am so glad that it did! What a wealth of fabulous information throughout your blog! I have been working on a novel based in NorCal, and being from SoCal, I have only been north a few times, and have been researching the coast. Looking forward to catching up on your previous posts, and especially to your future posts.


    • Linda Adams July 25, 2013 / 8:11 pm

      Check out Morro Bay. That’s in Central California. My grandparents used to have a house there. Beautiful fishing community with a giant “pet rock” called Morro Rock. They also have a one of a kind store — the Shell Shop. It’s like going into a candy store, only with shells. Absolutely cool!


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