Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Location, Location and Location

Post by Doris McCraw

aka Angela Raines 

Photo Property of the Author

As we come out of our 'isolations' many of us are playing catch-up. I decided to look back at what started me on this journey. What I realized is I enjoy short stories or short novellas. I have written novels but my first love is the short story I enjoy writing and reading them.

But I've also realized that location plays a big part in my imagination when I'm preparing a story. The three Agate Gulch stories have their start in the mountains near an area @Florissant, Colorado. 

The two stories I'm looking at today, are "Never had a Chance," and "Angel of Salvation Valley,". Both stories take place in @Colorado, the state I reside in.

In the case of "Never Had a Chance," the story is a continuation of my first novella, "Home for His Heart," where I've taken up the story of my heroine's brother, Tom. Tom, in the course of the story, arrives in @PuebloColorado and immediately gets himself into trouble. As the town of Pueblo has a rich history of people of Spanish and Italian descent, I was able to use that information to add color to the story. In this case, the location becomes a major influence on the story and its outcome.

In "Angel of Salvation Valley," I was influenced by the area around @GardenoftheGods. I don't mention the park as such but the concept of a Garden of the Gods played a big part in the telling of this paranormal story. It is a story of good and evil, and what people will and will not do when placed in an untenable situation.

Below are excerpts that I'm using to illustrate the idea.


            "Never had a Chance":

 "My sister, my dear sweet sister," Tom slurred. "Here's to my sister. May she have a long, happy, married life, damn her."

Tom had been sitting in the bar in Pueblo for the whole afternoon, drinking. He'd had a fight with his sister and soon to be brother–in–law. They'd wanted him to help out at the ranch, maybe run errands. He'd wanted to relax, spend time with his new friends in Agate Gulch. Truth was, Tom was feeling out of place. He'd been surprised when he finally recovered from his beating at the hands of Oliver's gang, to find that his sister, who'd deserted him, was living in the town where he'd run.

"Something happening?" the bartender asked, as he wiped the scarred bar top.

"She's getting married. I finally found her and she's getting married," Tom answered, throwing back the rest of his drink. He did love his sister, but her leaving him to Oliver's tender care still did not sit well.

Two men moved to sit next to Tom, listening to his slurred words. Exchanging looks at the bang of Tom's glass, they nodded.


"Angel of Salvation Valley"

 Standing in the valley's entrance two days later, Drew felt a bit of envy. "I can understand why Ham is upset that he lost this place," Drew whispered. Before him lay lush green grass with natural barriers all around the small place. Even as he admired its beauty, a part of his mind wondered at Ham owning such a place. Ham didn't strike him as someone who'd really want to work a place like this.

"That's silly," Drew said as he shook his head. If Luke said it was Ham's, then it was Ham's. Yet, even as he thought it, the doubt wouldn't leave him. Then the pain began a throb behind his eyes, easing up as he let the thought go.

He looked around to see if the others had followed him but saw no one. He'd asked for the chance to scout the area and get a look at the woman he was to kill. Ham had spoken against it; even Luke had hesitated before agreeing.

"If I'm to do this job, I want to make sure I get it done right," Drew said. "I can't if I don't know the lay of the land."

"If you say so, just remember your bargain," Luke had warned, a slight movement of his hand signaled his agreement to the plan.

"I won't. It means too much to me."

Now here he was, looking at a piece of heaven. The heaven he'd dreamed of, the place he could call home. If he'd had something like this, he wouldn't have been riding around searching, wouldn't have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, and ended up in prison. He'd do anything to have a place like this. Maybe someday, when all this is over, he thought.  

How has location influenced your storytelling? When reading, is setting important to you?


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