This is a photo of the Czars' Winter Palace on the banks of the Neva River which flows through St. Petersburg, Russia. Recently, I spent two days there researching the setting for A Reindear Tale. St. Petersburg is comprised of small islands surrounded by canals. The Winter Palace is a stone's throw from the water. Who knew?
It became a writer's challenge to figure a way for Ruby, my reindeer, to "get lost in the woods," as I indicated in the initial manuscript since there is no forest in St. Petersburg! I had to figure a way to get Ruby across the canals to flatland to begin her journey north. At that time there was only one bridge that was raised at night to allow passage of ships in and out of the main port. So, my Ruby cannot cross a bridge.
But then, Eureka! An Aha moment... It's so cold in the winter that the Neva River freezes. So, Ruby manages to slip and slide across the Neva on her search for adventure. Writers do more than write. It's called, research, research, research. There simply is no way around it. And way better to go in person whenever possible. Lots more fun, too. "Zazadarovje" - a Russian toast - "To your health." (Sounds better while drinking vodka...) Then edit, edit, edit... the day after, of course.