This will be kind of crossover post about how I sometimes get inspiration for my story while walking through the hills. It might not be just the landscape, but anything. The weather could be a factor as well. Reading books can be good inspiration for duels or battles but for the atmosphere, just going out to the hills works better than anything else.
Nature is often magical. It’s good to have some inspiration just from walking around and being able to think, undisturbed. It’s even better when the landscape itself gives you ideas. Here are a few times it happened to me.
I’ve wrote about my almost obsessive liking of the Slovakian peak ‘Vel’ký Rozsutec’ in the last post. It was only matter of time when I would take some inspiration from that place. Eventually it is happening somewhere around chapter 42. Misty pass, place of significance for the main character, is inspired by the sequoia groves (one of my biggest dreams is to visit them one day) while the mountains above are inspired by Slovakian landscape.
Dolomite peak of Rozsutec and the general Slovakian mountainscape – shrub pines around 1400 meters of elevation, grassy peaks slightly higher with marmots and chamois running around in some places were my inspiration as it is landscape I know very well and like it maybe far too much.
Walking straight is not a good omen
Several mountain ranges in the Carpathians are typical by long valleys followed by steep ascends when one reaches its end. The slow ascension through the valley might make one believe it’ll go all well. At the valley’s end, one often needs to sharply ascend more than 500 meters in zigzagging paths and often exposed to the sharp sun. Longest such valley in Slovakia is 25 km long, ending in elevation of ~875 meters with the peaks above it being often in elevations over 1500 meters and passes between them in elevation around 1300 meters. Several caves are in the valley. This landscape eventually became my inspiration for a place named quite bluntly ‘Dragon peaks’. The name makes it obvious what kind of creatures reside there.
While most of the time my hikes are done in weather that does not involve anything falling from the sky, luck is not limitless. It does not need to rain, morning after night’s rain is not much pleasant. Waterproof jacket is useless if every single blade of grass will sent drops of water directly into your boots. Few meters, okay. Mountain fields with total length around 3km? Your feet will feel wet even the next day…
Even this is something I used. At some point, the main character goes on a long journey which eventually leads him to a jungle. Over a week he goes in persistent rain that eventually soaks the ground so much he needs to continue barefoot as his boots keep getting stuck in the mud.
Hell has frozen over
I can’t possibly imagine anything less comfortable for a soldier on watch than when it’s really, REALLY cold. If you add a meter (or more) of snow to it so any path is deep below snow and you need to make your own, it becomes worse.
I had a few times when I decided to go to the hills in weather like that. Half a meter of snow at least, -15 degrees (Celsius), sometimes a bit of cold wind to make it worse. Path? Good luck, wind erased any traces overnight. One time, wind erased my footsteps within a minute.
Inspiration: there are a few times when the main character gets to a skirmish in winter. As hi main advantage tends to be mobility, you can be sure that fighting a warlock in winter when his mobility is gone can’t be easy.
Some time later, I sent him high to the mountains again, to places where the snow never melts, plateaus buffeted by winds that are free to blow as there’s nothing to stop them. Places that might look like this…
And again, it might be harder to reach those places than to actually be there.