Monday, August 06, 2007

Touring Oquawka

The only thing that makes sense on these trips is to do as many different chores as possible.  Once the convention was over yesterday, I took my camera and did some final research on the locations in East St. Louis that are used in my current working novel.

Today, we drove up north to Oquawka, where the story begins.  I took about 130 photos and found several instances where the novel, which has already reached first draft, would have to have some corrections.  At one point, I panicked when I thought the old Methodist church was missing it's bell.    But after talking to a few locals, I came to realize it was still there.  I just hadn't seen it correctly.   That bell plays an important part of several scenes in the story, and if it had vanished, I would have some serious re-plotting to do.

Yes, the story is fiction, but at least in this series I'm calling "Small Towns, Big Ideas", I do everything I can to keep the location and settings accurate.  

I found a few jewels, like the vintage photos that were used as decorations in the sandwich shop where we stopped for supper.  Since this is a time-travel novel, they were just what I needed, and totally unexpected.  Plus, the local girl who made the sandwiches was nearly a dead ringer for the protagonist.  

For a hurried tour through town, trying to nail down details, it was surprisingly productive.

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