Saturday, June 4, 2022

The River, Waterfalls, and the Writing Life by S. L. Carlson

The River, Waterfalls, and the Writing Life by S. L. Carlson

I am S. L. Carlson, a proud and grateful BWL Publishing Inc. author. My books can be viewed and purchased by visiting


 Part I:

Waterfalls in northern Wisconsin flow best in May, when most of the snow has melted and the rains have begun filling the rivers. May is also a time before mosquitoes, thick enough to carry off a human, start to immerge, and before tourists start crowding in. It was an adventure.

Locating waterfalls was mostly tentative. I had two paper maps open on my lap, as well as a sightseeing book of Wisconsin, as well as a brochure on waterfalls in two counties. Even so, directions were not always clear, and our time limited. Finding a waterfall was all a matter of trust: my husband trusting me to get us into the approximate area; me trusting maps and books which sometimes contradicted; trusting signs with no further directions of where to go, but having to take our best guesses. Sometimes, physical signs to reach it were antiquated and/or vague.


To reach two of them, it took driving various dirt backroads reach the trailheads, followed with gorgeous woodland hikes of an hour one way to the tumbling falls. One hike was under rumbling-thundering skies. But adventure and determination ruled. And the end result was well worth it.


Sometimes, physical signs to reach it were antiquated and/or vague.


After finding a place to park, we wandered near hydroelectric plants, through forested areas beside fenced-off cliffs, then followed our ears to the sound of rushing water.


The river above the more major falls often runs deep, swift, and silent. Then comes the continuous tumble of water. (Earplugs were recommended for one.) After the churning and bubbling ceases below the falls, the river once again runs quietly.


Part II:

My writing life, writing a novel, is like a river. It can start with an idea, like a spring bubbling up in a high meadow. As the idea develops, the story-stream widens into a river with more characters, action and plot, running deeper and faster. I start writing faster as I feel the story coming to life. I must admit that there are times when I write blind, not sure where the river is going. Sometimes a tributary leads me to backwater or a still pond. Do I block it off or ignore it, or is it interesting enough to keep in? Always, though, I must backtrack to return to the writing river, to the essence of the story.

My river tumbles as whitewater over rocks with various conflicts in the story.

There are twists and turns in the river I can’t always see around. I mean…which the reader can’t see around. There are areas with towering cliffs on each side, evidence of erosion from the many authors before me, carving the way for me to follow. Then comes the climax, the rushing, tumbling, crashing to below. But follow the river downstream, and it continues on, silent and calm.


From the bubbling beginnings of a story idea, my novels develop into the deep and silent river flow, gathering more and more speed, to the sound and expectation and excitement of the dramatic climax, the waterfall, finally concluding with the quiet, satisfactory story ending.


May each book you read follow to the thrill of the river and waterfall adventure.


S. L. Carlson Blog & Website:

BWL Inc. Publisher Author Page: 


  1. Interesting post. The pictures are wonderful

  2. Great similitude. Gorgeous waterfalls. Wishing you the very best with BWL.

  3. Beautiful landscape. I'd love to hike there.


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