Daily Archives: November 10, 2010

Book Notes, Book Notes and more Book Notes

Forest Road 1I am deep in bat dung – up to my neck in dreck, my friends…


Haven’t written much today, cause I keep running into snags, that Side Stories cannot take care of. Because it’s the Side Stories that produce the dreck, manure, bat dung (you get the picture…)


My sense of logic and of style demands that I at various points STOP moving my characters from point A to point B along a vague route, describing their feelings, impressions and structure in the landscape the move through, and actually have them interact with actual features in the landscape, BY NAME, and not GENERIC labels like ‘road’, ‘cave’, or ‘the next landmark’ etc.


It’s good and fine as long as the ‘environment’ is generic – a forest is a forest and a mountain is a mountain – but when it turns out that my characters have parents, siblings, uncles and aunts, and that they do not live isolated from other sentient beings, but have homes and are part of a societal structure… then I start to ‘need’ specificity on a few items… so today I have spent my writing time swearing over the following ‘Book Notes’:


Questions about the [species name]


·         Why don’t I have names for the various  [species name] ‘villages’?


Because I haven’t looked at the following questions:


·         What kind of Society do I imagine the [species name]  Society to be?

·         Do I need to research

Social structure?

·         Matriarchy or Patriarchy?

·         Feudal or Democratic?


·         Elected, Chosen or Hereditary?


·         Monotheism, Pantheism, Animism or Polytheism?


·         Do I have to ‘invent’ vehicles and road making methods?


·         Do I need to make a map?


·         What exactly do I know about the [species name]?

What do they look like?

Are they like





·         If the [another species]are Simian in appearance, doesn’t it logically follow that the [species name] are too, if they have interbred in the past?

·         If so, what kind of Simian?


How do I picture the various species?


·         Does [Character Name] have friends in the ‘next’ village?

·         Which is the ‘next village’?

·         What  is a ‘village’?


You see my problem?

Do I really have to write a frigging essay to each of these questions? I mean who the frak am I – JRR Tolkien?? Still, he had a few good points, despite the fact that he couldn’t write worth a damn, except long litanies about trees and grass and WALKING and orchs…

One of the good points he had was that about knowing what kind of environment the characters were moving in, even if the reader never knew the nitty-gritty details.

I think that’s why my writing career has never taken flight – I HATE research.

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