Tag Archives: research

Field Trip Day!

For weeks, my son Dev and I have been scheduling–and having to cancel–a trip to the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Today, we finally made it, and I definitely needed the break.  For writer-me, it was a research day as well.  For Dev, it was a school day.  We win!  🙂

The museum is both restful and stimulating. We spent a huge amount of time appreciating the African Art galleries, but somehow completely missed the North American collections. We wandered the galleries of European and Asian art, sometimes with great seriousness, and sometimes laughing as we created dialog between the paintings.

100_2402

In the Contemporary Design gallery, I found the desk that fits my personality.

100_2450

And we both want this knife block for our kitchen.

100_2452

The weather was fine enough we spent an hour walking the grounds. Alas, the combination of melted snow and un-melted ice made most of the trails more of an adventurous slog than we were looking for, but we enjoyed what we could.

100_2461

And Dev wanted to take a happy picture of me:

100_2396

Then, on the way home, Dev asked about Sand of Bone, and helped me talk through a solution to a long-standing issue. It’ll make revisions a tad more complicated on one hand, but it does indeed solve the issues while at the same time enhancing the story and opening possibilities for future storylines beyond this and the sequel. I have such a cool kid!

Advertisements

Crossroads Finally Makes Sense

Many years ago, I was able to attend the Writers of the Future writing workshop in Los Angeles, taught by K.D. Wentworth and Tim Powers.  K.D. gave me a piece of short story writing advice: Mutilate the cows on the first page.  For me, who had a bad habit of burying the SF element too many words into the story, it was an excellent piece of advice.

But it was Tim whom I got to know quite well during that week, and I had the chance to spend much of a later convention hanging out with him and his wife.  Over coffee, I expressed my huge admiration for the event-puzzles Tim wrote as secret histories, and asked his advice on writing about the weird and wild in present-day settings.  The conversation was fascinating, far-reaching, and made my brain hurt with the effort to keep up.  His process of discovering and connecting historical events with fantastical motivations and influences stuck with me as I plotted out Crossroads of America.

Now, Crossroads is not a complex secret history, though it does draw from real historical reports, regional folklore, and local events.  But the biggest missing piece has always been why the major character–Jack–ends up in a position of such influence, why she is the one who must act, and why her actions might have the power to solve the, um… problems.

Today, while hunting Google for the names of a couple locations in the California wilderness, I came upon this:

“Scientists are puzzled by a mysterious Los Padres National Forest hot spot where 400-degree ground ignited a wildfire.  The hot spot was discovered by fire crews putting out a three-acre fire last summer in the forest’s Dick Smith Wilderness.”

And all of a sudden, Jack has a complex backstory that makes her the inevitable choice for the role she must play, and it’s all based on an actual event!

Now back to adding words to my NaNo count.