The Unhidden World

Now that I have gotten a few days of rest–and watched my share of TV for a couple of days–I can get back to the business of plotting out my novel and beginning the task of writing.  This week has been one of distractions, but they’re good distractions.  And tomorrow I’m thinking of taking a train ride . . . whee!  I probably won’t know if I’m going or not until sometime tonight, but it looks like I may be on the road early in the morning.

Yesterday I had another distraction, which was hunting down a railway.  Now, there are a lot of railroads out there, but this one I’d found a few months before when I was doing research on something and stumbled across the information.  I finally found it:  fifty miles of track stretching from The Salton Sea to Eagle Mountain Mine known as, you’ll be surprised, the Eagle Mountain Railroad.  If you want to follow it on Google Maps, start here and proceed in a northeasterly way.  There are a few sections washed out from floods ten years ago, but the rest of the route is visible.

I do this a lot.  All the time I’ve finding places through Google Maps, and then I keep hunting around to see what they are and where they go.  That’s how I found the Abandoned Turnpike, because I was planing my trip to The Burg, noticed the deviations on the maps, and started looking around.  While doing research for my current novel I spent a lot of time looking over the Russian Space Center at Baikonur, and many of the oil and gas fields far to the north.  I’ve found gigantic mines in northern Canada, observatories in Chile and New Mexico, even the location of the first atomic detonation–which, incidentally, is near two space ports, neither of which is near a huge crater made by another atomic detonation.

I go everywhere looking for things.  Sometimes this is research for a novel or story or whatever, and I’m checking out a location so I can create images in my mind.  Other times I do this for fun, because I’m curious, and I know I’ll never go to these places in my lifetime, so seeing them this way is the next best thing.

I’ve always been good with maps, going back to when I used to figure out where my family was going on vacation when I was seven or eight.  I’m a natural navigator, and I love seeing what I can find next.  I grew up in a time when there were still parts of the world that weren’t well know, but today, I can hop on the Internet and in a matter of minutes I can visit a dozen remote places.  Sometimes I even find cities that are pretty much abandoned . . .

If you’re a writer, you should be curious.  You should want to see those things that are unseen.  And once you see them, you make them a reality.

It’s so nice of the world to open itself up for us, don’t you think?

Relativistic Time

I’ve spoken to a friend of mine, one who understands the tribulations I’ve been through with my writing.  I was telling them about all the work I’ve done getting my next novel together:  the designs, the characters, the layouts, the plotting.  Even the scope goes well beyond anything I’ve done to this point.  Because even though my Transporting stories go all over time and space, they never, to me, feel huge.  They tend to be about two or three or four characters within that world, and that’s it.  You don’t see much of the universe beyond their doors.

With The Foundation Chronicles, I’m all over the world.  My school design started in the the late 17th Century and expanded like a fortress.  I’ve centers and schools around the world.  I have students from every location and walk of life.  In the first couple of chapters I go from Cardiff and Bulgaria to London to Amsterdam to Boston, and then to SIGEL, the school hiding among a grid of magic and technology.

There’s a lot of imagining going on.  There’s a whole lot of atmosphere I’m trying to create and build, so it’s a bit of a daunting task.

What it is mostly is a hell of a lot of work.  More so than I’d first imagined.

While I was plotting things out last night I realized at one point that I’d missed a few things when setting up my text blocks.  I doubled checked my time line, and was like, “Damn, either I’m tired or there’s just way too much here.”  Probably a bit of both, since the last couple of work days have been real mind benders, and I was pretty much forcing myself to put things together.  But that is the risk you run when you are working and, well, working:  you get off one job tired and you bring that to the next.

When your next involves building a big-ass world, it’s a bit crazy to think you’re going to get it all right the first time.

One of my friend put out the message, “Is everyone preparing for NaNo?”  I joked back, “What are these preparations you speak of?” because that’s all you hear these days.  But it did get me thinking about this story, and I’ve been preparing for this novel since before Camp NaNo.  If I go back through my blog posts–which I won’t do now because I’m short on time–I’ll probably find I started the ground work for this story back in June.  June to November is six months, and that’s a lot of work to throw into what should be a pretty straight forward story.

It’s almost all there, however.  As time grows short it also seems to slow down, and just when I don’t think there’s enough time to get it all done, I shock myself.  I checked the clock last night and discovered it was only nine PM, and I’d though it was later than that, because I’d been deep in the tale getting dates and time right.  So many time slowed down for me?  I can’t say–that’s for the ones smarter than me to figure out.

There we go:  a little over five hundred and thirty words in twenty minutes.  I can still do it when I need to crank.