Beautiful isn't it? This image of cascading water tumbling down a huge waterfall. Beautiful, loud and potentially deadly. Especially if you are walking above it on a narrow trail where there is no fence or protection from it, if you were to fall over the ledge. It is scenes like this one that inhabit the worlds created by the very best of Alfred Hitchcock's films. They are breathtaking in their cinemascopic views and compelling, drawing the viewer into the scene and into the scene of the crime.
This is what I saw as I walked this same trail for a second time with my family. This breathtaking view. I was able to relax and enjoy it more the second time around because I knew it was there. I'd walked the trail before only a few weeks back. But the first time I saw it from this close range with nothing but air between me and falls, I'll admit it made me a teeny bit nervous.
Though not as big as Niagra Falls, the Cumberland Falls lives up to its title of the Niagra of the South. It is a large body of water both lovely and raw in its scope and force. A force of nature in every sense of the word. It is one of my favorite sights to visit. It is also an area in the Daniel Boone National Forest where I placed the final scene of a crime in my middle grade mystery. I wondered as I navigated the trails around it if my character would contemplate for just a moment pushing the villain, whose power he was under, off the trail and into the roiling water just below. Would it be better to never know what had become of his loved ones? Could he sacrifice them to keep a powerful object out the hands of a psychopath? These are important questions that I hadn't contemplated for my character until I walked the trails in the park and looked at the surroundings through his eyes. A very important thing to be able to do as a writer.
It gave me new insight into my character as I pondered the places I saw, people I passed on the trail, and the likelihood of the villain being able to carry out what I'd written. The scene of the crime was full of beauty, danger, and the occasional, other, hiker. It an area that is dotted with caves, streams, waterfalls, and wildlife, some of which include black bears.
I realized in order for my villain's scheme to be successful I would have to look up when bears actually begin their hibernation period. The location of the crime would have to be far enough away from a trail for it to be unnoticed by other hikers in the area, but close enough for my villain to find it again without difficulty. It would also have to be someplace unlikely to be blocked by fallen trees, or ice formations that would prohibit them from getting back to the victims in question.
By answering these questions for myself as the writer I can go back to my final climactic scene and hopefully rewrite it to be as hair-raising and compelling as anything Hitchcock could create on film. If I can accomplish that I will have written something I would love to read and hopefully something others won't want to put down, as well. It was fun visiting the scene of my crime. I'm very blessed to be so close to so much natural beauty even if, in my fictional world, it may prove to be a very dangerous location for my character...