The hills are alive…

…but not usually in my fiction. When I invent a landscape, I find it almost always bears a resemblance to the terrain I grew up on: rolling plains (mostly pasture) with dots of trees and forests in the distance. I grew up on a farm 20 miles or so south of Dallas, TX, and unfortunately, so do most of my characters.

It’s not entirely my fault. How many great fantasy novels have the same landscape? Frodo’s race through the wilderness with the Nazgul on his heels could have taken place partly in my backyard. Years after I first read those books as a teen, Frodo’s night-time flight still stays with me, as do the adventures of many plains-bound characters.

I’ve been trying to branch out lately. I had a recent experience with a mountain that I’ll tell you all about next week, and it taught me a lot about breathing at elevation when one is used to sea level. I’ll have to incorporate that into the characters in my sequel who move from the plains to a mine in the hills. I also want to play around with deserts, maybe some oceans, hell, anywhere but rolling plains with occasional forest.

How about you? Made up worlds look remarkably like where you spend the bulk of your time? Or maybe your childhood home? Do you like to imagine your stories in landscapes completely different than your own, real or imaginary?


10 thoughts on “The hills are alive…

  1. I don’t have as much location description in my stories as I should, but they’re often different. Mostly busy cities, as I imagine them since I haven’t yet lived in one, though, the last nano story was set in an alternate Gainesville (where I live now).

  2. I’m still stuck in the “write what you know” mode, so my stories are set in small towns in the midwest. I would love to invent a whole new world, but I’m not ready for that yet.

  3. I’ve traveled a bit so I’ve got a lot to draw on.

    Ironically, I grew up in the back alleys and concrete jungle of Chicago, but it has never appeared in my books. I’m really not fond of urban settings. I’ve fought too hard to get away from them

    But I adore the wilderness and that tends to show up a lot.

    Ref: 20 miles south of Dallas
    Where about? Red Oak?

    • OMG, Maria! How did you guess! I didn’t live in Red Oak, but I went from K to graduation there. I lived in Ovilla, a town so small our post office was in a Texaco, and we couldn’t use our town name as our mailing address, but had to use Midlothian next door.

      • It’s the only town I could think of 20 miles south of Dallas. We almost bought a place down there. It was gorgeous, but the neighbor was a little too weird–and too close. LOL.

        Where I live now is a lot like Ovilla. It’s so small we don’t even have a post office.

  4. Hey, Barb!!! I have to admit that most of my world do come out looking like nothing I’ve ever seen. But then again, I love the magic that Harry Potter created. But I also have many landscapes that remind me of home as well.

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