Will Travel for Words: A New Voyage by Karen A. Chase
The cold of winter has settled in. A new year has turned. And as a writer, I am setting my sights on a bit of a blank page. In a good way.
It’s not that I’m unable to write. I have a manuscript that will enter into another round of editing for the first quarter of the year. I have blog posts articles and this column, too, and hopefully a few editorial projects on the horizon.
By a blank page, I mean 12 months ahead of me that are just begging for some plans. For me, that includes both an exciting new book project, and the delightful feeling of 365 days eagerly awaiting travel plans. Thankfully, the former is going to help me sort out the latter.
A few months ago, while in Italy, I had a dream about my next novel. Upon returning home, I did some preliminary research, and was delighted to discover the hunch in my dream could be crafted into a full novel within the genre of historical American fiction–a category I have come to thoroughly enjoy.
The worst problem of the story, in my wanderlust’s opinion, was that it seemed to be entirely set in Washington, D.C. The capitol is 90 minutes up the road from my home, so it seemed my travel for research would not be all that adventurous. I was set to abandon the story for that reason. Yes, seriously.
However, as I researched the history a bit more, just like magic (poof), the cities began to reveal themselves. Washington. Annapolis. Boston. New York. Cincinnati. Chicago. London. Paris. (My skin prickles now with anticipation even typing the names.)
In addition, there is the delight in travel methods I must thoroughly research. Horse. Carriage. Sailboat. Oceanliner. Train. With my story set in 1800-1900, my head already envisions me in a dashing sleeping car, with the locomotive wheels beneath me cachunking across the eastern seaboard. I can easily imagine arriving in the Annapolis port by sailboat to discover her streets as they may have been in 1850. How am I to understand riding across the country upon a great steed, unless I feel the power of the beast beneath me?
Will all of this be possible? In one year? Perhaps not. But that is the beauty of a new year. A new story. A story and a calendar aching to be filled with adventure, as much as I am aching to strike out and fill them. So off we go.
Pen in one hand. Map in the other. Camera around my neck. And my suitcase filled with blank pages eagerly waiting. Where shall I go first to travel for words?
Tell me, too, where will you travel for adventure and for words this year?
Image: Colton’s Georgetown and the City of Washington The Capital of the United States of America. A map from 1855. See the full resolution image on Wikimedia Commons here.
Karen A. Chase is a regular contributor to Shelf Pleasure, sharing journeys near and far in the pursuit of stories and novels in her monthly feature, Will Travel for Words. She is the author of Bonjour 40: A Paris Travel Log, winner of seven Independent Book Publishing Awards for travel and design. She is currently working on an historical novel set during the American Revolution. Find Karen on Facebook, or on Twitter.
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