I’m wearing my writer’s hat this week and following a 12-day writing prompt challenge. Today’s prompt was to write a setting based on the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen.
I wasn’t entirely sure what they wanted me to do with that one—did they want me to describe the place? Create a similar place? Make up a specific location with the same surroundings?
At least I had a place to start—I may be a Minnesotan girl who has never left the country or even seen the ocean (true story!), but I’ve seen beauty. My own state is one—I love the lakes and trees, and I even love the blizzards and ice storms that stay with us way too late into the spring. There’s no place like home.
Away from home, the loveliest place I’ve been is Moscow, Idaho.
According to history, Moscow was originally called Paradise Valley. I’m not sure why they changed the name. With hills, rolling fields of wheat, the Snake River, and little clusters of trees, I haven’t been anywhere much closer to Paradise. I’ve been there twice—once for a teacher training conference and once for a writer’s conference. The first stay was in July, when the fields of wheat were thick and green. The second stay was in August, when those same fields definitely demonstrate how “amber waves of grain” made it into “America the Beautiful.”
Moscow is a college town, and it’s small and cozy. If I had to set a story there, I would let my character wander those rolling hills before coming into town to visit the weekly summer farmer’s market. I got to wander that farmer’s market the morning of my August birthday, and it was one of those scenes that I wanted to keep forever. The entire main street was closed off and lined with brightly-colored umbrellas above stands full of fresh fruit, veggies, breads, eggs, meat, and crafts. At either end of the street stood a young girl playing guitar. If you’ve seen Disney’s Tangled, the atmosphere felt exactly like Rapunzel’s birthday—the scene when she got to explore her newfound freedom and dance with her people in the streets.
If I had to use Moscow, Idaho, as a setting, I would want to use it as a setting for true stories. As much as I’m content to live in Minnesota, I want to go back and make more Idaho memories in my favorite Paradise Valley.
That’s about as far as I decided to take my setting-planning today. What are the most beautiful places you’ve ever seen? Would you use them as a setting for a story? Which ones would you recommend for me to visit? I may not be well-traveled yet, but I hope to change that! I’d love to add to my list of beautiful memories.