There’s a movement in the sciences to begin involve citizens more in the collection of data. There are many reasons behind the effort. One reason is a better understanding of science as a process, because you helped collect data and were part of the process. Another reason is better access to scientific information, because you might know where to find it. Others are improved scientific literacy, stronger connection between people and nature, and changes in attitudes towards nature (or science).
The main reasons these changes happen – is people get to participate. The participants get to collect data and be part of a bigger project.
What are some of these citizen science efforts? Citizens collect data on the numbers of birds, fish and environmental conditions.
I love being a citizen scientist because I can recognize that it has changed how I see the beach where I collect data. My beach is not just one big patch of sand to me any more. Because I’ve had to stop, slow down and look at the beach and users very systematically and record those details (like the temperature, water current speed, cloud cover, and wind speeds), I see more details. Now when I go to the beach, I look at the vista, the boats, clear water, and people enjoying the water. I look at it differently.
That’s one of the reasons we created Placing Literature. Give you (gentle readers) a way to stop, and think about, and write about the places you’ve been. You can compare them to the places created by the writer of the story and think about how we all experience places differently.
Please let us know – when you entered your place on the map, did you think about it differently? Tell us more!
Writing about a particular place can be a labor of love for some authors, giving them a chance to share their favorite towns and hangouts with others. Think of Charles Dickens and London. Or Anne Rice and New Orleans. Garrison Keillor and rural Minnesota.
While our February Author Spotlight Tori L. Ridgewood sets her new romance series in the fictional town of Talbot, the small town is actually based on Ridgewood’s hometown of Cobalt in Central Canada. The places in her novels exist but the actual names have been changed to protect the innocent. Cobalt is a small town after all, and Ridgewood is known for her steamy romance stories.
Placing Literature is giving Ridgewood the opportunity to connect the fictional Talbot to the real Cobalt, essentially overlaying the maps of the two towns on top of each other where Ridgewood can highlight their similarities and their differences. Think of the places she maps this month as hidden Easter eggs—virtual winks and nudges in the ribs to her fans who will now be able to receive additional context to the settings in her novel.
Ridgewood has deeply inspired by another novel that romanticized another region of Canada, Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery. Ridgewood says about the novel:
“Set in beautiful Prince Edward Island, Montgomery’s detailed descriptions of the landscape were informed by her experiences there, and they simply leap off the pages of the story. Creepy spruce forests, romantic laneways created by budding cherry trees, shining ponds and fields full of wildflowers bordered by the red dirt roads unique to the island—Montgomery’s writing painted word pictures for me that have stayed with me since childhood.”
In addition to her first book and prequel in the Talbot series, Ridgewood will be mapping Anne of Green Gables which is set near Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, which is a popular destination for thousands of tourists. Ridgewood was able to visit the island when she was a teenager and walked the paths of her favorite red-haired heroine. She’d like to return again with her husband and children, but the first step is mapping the scenes in Placing Literature.
Follow Tori’s mapping journey here throughout February.
Who says love is in the air? Well, I do. It’s February, the month for lovers, and Placing Literature is focusing on Romance authors. Like horror stories, the interesting thing about romance novels is that they often use real places to give their stories a sense of realism. It can be exciting to read about two strangers who fall in love over time while telecommuting at their local coffee shop. Reading about two people falling in love at Nook, the coffee shop down the street from your apartment, is absolutely titillating.
New York Times bestselling author Dianna Love is our IndieReader Author Spotlight for February. The appropriately-named Love is the author of the critically-acclaimed Slye Temp romantic thriller series about a group of undercover agents who want to do the right thing but seem to get mixed up with the wrong lovers. Slye Temp’s cases send Love’s protagonists around the world to exotic locations, and we’ve been encouraging her to map international places on our map. In our phone interview, Love mentioned that she often visits the places she writes about—usually while on motorcycle road trips with her husband—giving the setting in her novels a realism they otherwise wouldn’t get.
Follow Love on Placing Literature and her Facebook page to track her progress.