I admit to a bit of jealousy. Every two weeks, I’ve been phone conferencing collaborators on a writing project. Every two weeks I get the glowing report of warm California days and milder Virginia weather. My Minnesotan toes go cold just hearing about their sinful temps.
After all, it’s hard to brag when area schools are closing down due to dangerous wind chills and events are being postponed to allow blizzards to move through.
However, a bit of research this morning made me one happy writer. Because our project is set in a different state, I have been gathering as much info about my setting as possible. Temps. Cost of living. Demographics concerning religion, ethnicity and education. What’s the geography in NE Missouri? Yeah, that’s right. Missouri.
I know what you’re thinking: it doesn’t make a lot of sense for people living in Sunny California, Historic Virginia or Rural Minnesota to place a main character dead center between them. But we did. And so research, I must.
In doing so, I found the most amazing website for writers. Maybe I live in a hole and timeanddate.com is as well-known as a keyboard to most of you, but for me, the wealth of info found there instantly relegated the website to my faves.
If you’ve not seen it, heard of it or used it, I suggest you check it out. At least if you’re writing about–or traveling to–a place far, far away from where you eat, breathe and live. It will put things like sunset into perspective.
Because of timeanddate.com, the green glow of jealousy has receded slightly. After all, I discovered that I have far more summer to enjoy than my California counterparts.
The sun sets on those poor souls at 8:08pm. I, on the other hand, get to bask in daylight until 9:12, thus relishing one hour and twenty-four seconds more sun on June 21st than they.
Somehow, I picture myself relaxing in my poolside garden, surrounded by my family and sipping a cocktail as I bank those precious moments against forty below wind chills and 4:53 winter sunsets.
What would you do with an extra hour? What other resources are must faves for penning settings outside your traditional stomping grounds?
Curious minds want to know.