Writing About Where You Know with Renee Stevens – Post + Giveaway

September 1, 2016

Renee Stevens joins us today to talk about the state that inspired Wide Open Spaces.

Writing about where you know

Part of the requirement for the States of Love Series was that it was clear what state the story took place in. Generally, when I write a story, I build the “scene” myself. There is rarely something that makes it take place in a certain state, and that has its benefits. You can just write without worrying about whether or not the location is true to a specific state/area, as long as you remain consistent throughout the book. That wasn’t an option with Wide Open Spaces.

However, there are also benefits to using a specific city or state, especially if you know the area well. I chose Sweetwater County, because I know it well. Yes, I could have had the story take place in Yellowstone, or Cheyenne, or any one of numerous places, but I don’t know them like I do Sweetwater County. Could I still make the story realistic? Yes. Could I simply do the research? Yes, I could have, but to me it wouldn’t be the same.

Writing about a place I know made the story so much more realistic. Every setting in Wide Open Spaces I’ve seen with my own two eyes. I know how the specific dirt feels, how intense the wind can get, and how cold it can get after dark. I know these things because I’ve felt it, I’ve experienced it for myself. I could look at pictures, but that doesn’t really show me the distance between aspects of the scene.

Take a photograph of a snow covered mountain range. From that picture, do you know how far it is? Do you know what’s between that picture and where it was taken? Not necessarily. I’ve been on the Wild Horse Loop and saw the Wind River Mountain Range from that distance, and I know how far it is. I know that while there are a few rolling foothills, there’s mostly just sagebrush between the Wild Horse Loop and the Wind Rivers.

The biggest downfall of writing an area you know is figuring out how much to include. What aspects of the area make it unique? What areas really stand out? How much description should I go into? But the benefits far outweighed the downfalls. I enjoyed being able to add that realistic touch to my story and hopefully show what life is like living here in a small town, in the state with the fewest number of people in the country.

To finish up, I wanted to take a quick look at a couple of places you’ll see in my States of Love novella Wide Open Spaces.

Flaming Gorge Reservoir – Flaming Gorge is approximately 90 miles wide and covers parts of Wyoming and Utah, with the majority being in Wyoming. It has awesome fishing, with large Lake Trout (Mackinaw) and numerous other species of fish. It’s the type of place that if you go out on the water in a boat, you better be prepared to head for shore as soon as the wind picks up because the waves could easily capsize a small boat. Flaming Gorge is a favorite of both locals and tourists alike, whether they’re into camping, fishing, or cliff jumping. And you might even see a Golden Eagle nest in the cliffs!

Flaming Gorge Reservoir

Flaming Gorge Reservoir

Flaming Gorge Reservoir

Wild Horse Loop – The Wild Horse Loop is one of the very unique aspects of Sweetwater County in Wyoming. It’s a 25 mile loop that visitors and residents alike can take a self-guided tour along in the hopes of seeing wild horse herd. The Wild Horse Loop is a dirt and gravel road that spans between Green River and Rock Springs. Not only can you see wild horses (foals too, if you’re lucky) but you can also see some of the wildlife that calls Wyoming home, such as elk, deer, pronghorn antelope, and of course rabbits. You might even see a coyote or two.

Wild Horse Loop

Wild Horse Loop

Wild Horse Loop

Author Bio:

Renee Stevens first started writing in her teens but didn’t get serious about being an author until her mid-twenties.  Since then she’s written a number of contemporary stories, as well as delved into the paranormal.  When not writing, or spending time in the outdoors, Renee can usually be found working on GayAuthors.org in her capacity of admin and Anthology Coordinator.

Renee resides in Wyoming with her wonderfully supportive husband and a menagerie of four-legged critters.  Making the most of the nearly constant negative temperatures and mounds of snow, Renee spends much of the winter months in hibernation with her laptop, the voices in her head keeping her company while her husband works. When she needs a break from writing, Renee takes to the sewing machine to design, and make, beautiful quilts.

When the snow finally disappears, usually around May or June, Renee can be found in the great-outdoors.  She spends her time on the mountain, at the lake, and just anywhere that she can do some camping, take some photos, and ride the four-wheelers with her hubby.  Once back at home, it’s back to writing.

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Now it’s time for the give-a-ways! One lucky winner will win an eBook copy of No More Hiding. All you have to do to enter is comment and tell me one place that is unique to your state!

I’m also throwing a Facebook event through September 7th and will be doing a lot of different give-a-ways there! Come join us! https://www.facebook.com/events/1672333403093781/

Check out Wide Open Spaces today!

Wide Open Spaces by Renee Stevens

Blurb:

Devon fled Wyoming as soon as he turned eighteen, leaving behind his high school love, Levi. After six years in the big city, Devon returns to his hometown. Not much has changed, except that Levi is no longer in the closet. He’s also single and living his dream—managing the local wild horse population. Both of them are very interested in picking up where they left off, but Devon is no more ready to reveal his orientation than he was as a teenager.

No one is going to shove Levi back in the closet—not even Devon. For a relationship to work, they’ll have to put the past behind them and find the courage to face the future as who they really are—a couple in love. But Devon doesn’t know if he’s strong enough. Maybe Levi would be better off without him—and his hang-ups.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

6 Responses to “Writing About Where You Know with Renee Stevens – Post + Giveaway”

  1. Susan says:

    For better or for worse, in Utah, one thing that is unique is the HQ of the LDS church. When my family moved here, we made the obligatory trip to Temple Square, which reinforced my dislike of organized religions.

  2. I know what you mean, Susan. I actually grew up in Utah until I was 15 or so. Between the traffic and everything else, I’m so glad that my family moved!

  3. Debra Guyette says:

    I live in Connecticut. Every state has some lace that are special. We have a sub base and Mystic Seaport and some tall ships.

  4. You are so right Debra! Every state has it’s own unique aspects. I love visiting seaports and seeing all the boats and ships. It’s always a neat experience.

  5. Ami says:

    This is difficult because I don’t live in the US. So I cannot say what is unique about my ‘state’ here in Jakarta, Indonesia. Maybe it being a melting-pot is unique. We have the biggest Cathedral and biggest Mosque located right across of each other

  6. Thank you, Ami! And yes, that sounds unique to me! I should have used a different phrasing than state, but I didn’t think of it at the time. Thank you so much for sharing :)

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