Finding inspiration in a history book

Not Without Peril: 150 Years of Misadventure on the Presidential Range of New HampshireNot Without Peril: 150 Years of Misadventure on the Presidential Range of New Hampshire by Nicholas Howe

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 stars because I could not put it down. Stayed up all night in a tent, with no-see-ums biting because they were attracted by the light of the flashlight. But it was worth it. The accounts of people who died on Mt Washington, in the White Mountain National Forest, was so gripping. And even though their plight was known (looks like everyone whose story is told in this book was a fatality) I couldn’t help hoping they would get some sense, turn and go back. Lesson to learn — when you are hypothermic in a heavily exposed situation, you don’t have self-awareness regarding just how precarious your situation is. Your judgment could be clouded to the extent that you make the exact WRONG choices, and death will find you. Will I remember this? I hope so! Highly recommended.

View all my reviews  in Goodreads

Such a book offers great inspiration for the fiction writer. It is so easy to  put one’s own characters in conditions similar to those endured by real people. Set the scene, and see what happens. If you can, allow at least two characters to interact because when you write their urgent conversations, this gives you a chance to build momentum without “telling” the story.

So, instead of . . .

He left her alone while he went for help.


. . .  you could have an exchange like this, that sets up word pictures in the reader’s mind:

“Wait, don’t leave me. I have a bad feeling about this. I don’t want to be out here by myself!”

“But you’ve twisted your ankle and you can’t walk. Settle down here in the lee of this boulder. I’ll go for help. It’s only two miles to the ranger station. Here, I’ll leave my jacket with you.”


You get the idea. Try it out for yourself!


Manna is everywhere!

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