Today already feels like a bit of a grind. The fire alarm went off in my complex at three AM, and I’ve been trying to wake up from a perpetual doze since everything quieted down an hour later. It’s never a good thing to start the week with your head in a fog after a few hours of sleep. I’ll manage, but I’ll be a wreck tonight.
Eventual it was time to crawl out of bed, get ready, and walk across town to my job. Yes, walk. I live about three-quarters of a mile from my office, so rather than drive in, I walk it. It’s good exercise, and a great time to be alone with your thoughts. And since there aren’t a lot of people out and about at six-thirty in The Burg, you can work out scenes aloud if you are of a mind–
Which I usually am.
A favorite question to ask is, “Where do you get your ideas?” I think it was Robert Silverberg who said he had a service in Schenectady, New York, who mailed him new ideas every Tuesday, but I could be wrong. That’s a good comeback, though, because ideas generally just come to people. Something hits you, and there you have it: idea.
While walking across The Burg I was thinking out a scene between one of my main characters and the school’s flying, levitation, and teleportation instructor. In the mater of a few blocks I established that one, the current batch of A Level students don’t seem all that interested in flying PAVs; two, that a couple of A Levels appeared the day before asking if they could fly; and three, managed to establish that the instructor is Jewish. The last I already knew, but the other two came to me . . . Oh, and also established that the instructor likes metric, because screw that goofy Imperial system.
But then it was time to talk about different Class 1 PAVs, and I needed names. Easy enough: just like cars, name them after people who developed them. So you have Covington Trainers, and Espinoza 6000s, and the Higoshi Rally–
Lastly, about the time I was standing in front of the Capitol, came the Wilhelmina A’s through D’s.
Who was Wilhelmina? A student from the 1960’s whose mother was a practicing Wican before her little girl–who was also a witch–went off to school to become a real real witch. Then she discovered science, figured out how to work both together, and went on to greater glory. But while she loved flying she hated the training brooms, so during her E Levels she built the prototype of the Wilhelmina A in Practical Science and Magic class. Because she could.
No one at school called her Wilhelmina, however: it was too much of a mouth full. Because of her background–and because kids be kids–her nickname was Witchy Poo. Which is what everyone calls her brooms. Which is why my instructors says, “This is a good broom: it’s a Witchy Poo B.”
Just like that, I had my scene in ten minutes time.
And added just a little more realism to my world.