Flight and building homes–that’s my activities the last twenty-four hours. But it’s fun, let me tell you! I mean, look to my right: can’t you see I’m having fun?
I’m off into the building mode for the next story, and damn but if I don’t get weird at times. In thinking through one of the scenes in my soon-to-be story, I have two of my characters jetting along to the U.S., talking about planes and flights. One of my characters asks the other if they’ve ever flown before. They say something like, “Oh, yeah. When I was eight we flew from San Francisco to London . . .”.
And there were are. Just because I did that one line, I now gotta look up flights from San Fran to London. I should have done this last night, but hey, while I got you here, I’ll bring up the Travelocity site and plug in SFO to LHR . . . and here we have it!
Just what I wanted: a non-stop flight, because the character in question was telling his friend about how he flew on a 747, so he knew the layout of the plane pretty well. I also have the flight number, and with this I can roll over to Seat Guru, pull up the flight, and find the layout of the interior. Which, I may say, is pretty nice on the inside.
That level of information tells me what I need to know about the character, and what they know about that particular type of aircraft. And that just comes from one simple question about what one character knows about 747s.
Such is life when you’re finding things to put into your stories. It’s not just writing, it’s how you build your world. And if you want to build it right, you have to do this crazy leg work. Even if it is for just one line in one paragraph.
One of the things I’ve been doing of late is building layouts of places I have in my stories. I will build maps so I can get a visual reference of a place, and of late I’ve been using some open source software to lay out homes and buildings so I can get a feel for a place that I’m trying to describe.
The one to the right is a perfect example of finally seeing something that I’ve written about. This is a home I built for my novel Transporting. This is the domicile of one Duchess Scoth, and while it might not look like a lot here–and it’s just here and an AI servant, so it’s not–it’s location is seventeen hundred meters up the side of a twenty-three hundred meter cliff. That means when you’re walking from the upper to lower levels . . . that that big window on the right, where the stairs take a sharp turn to the right? Yep: nothing but a sheer rock wall and open air for a mile straight down.
I’ve always wondered if my idea for the home was right, if my vision was correct. After a day of playing around I can say, yes: my mind’s eye is as good as my regular eyes.
Now, what other insanity can I come up with in the glow of the night?