I made a wrong turn in Vegas.
I found myself on a short street under the freeway where a couple of dozen homeless people clung to the shadows. They looked sweaty and miserable.
I eventually made it to the Chick-Fil-A drive thru and enjoyed my sandwich in my air-conditioned van in the parking lot. Then I had to walk the twenty feet to the trash can.
113°F is brutal.
I grew a new respect for those homeless people under the freeway.
Then I knew I blew it.
Not right then and there but with several scenes in my novel Reymons. The main characters have to fly open cockpit ultralight aircraft through one of the hottest areas on the planet. I will have to rewrite the scenes to reflect the brutal desert heat that they have to endure.
I try to set my scenes in familiar areas. Sometimes that isn’t possible. In those cases, I am seeing that it is important to visit the scenes to get an idea of what would be affecting the characters.
In the desert of Nevada and Southern California, the heat would be of primary importance to the characters. In some places, the geological features may take precedence. In others, traffic or crowds.
To build depth and realism in characters, you have to know what they are sensing and bring that to the page.
This weekend, I will be in one of the towns that inspired the fictional town of Kerryville, VA. I will keep my senses alert for what my characters should experience.
And just so you know, I don’t plan on exploring the fictional depths of Humphrey’s Peak, known in the distant future as Reymons.
For some things you just have to use your imagination.