Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Walking My Way Into the Next Book: Gathering the Realism of the Next Book

Scroll down past these pictures and you will see their stories. It's about war and writing and going out and looking for ideas and researching what your creative side says will be the next story. I like taking pictures because pictures tell stories and they can help you understand where you need to go with an idea.

It takes time to write a book, even when I have the plot and characters pretty much sorted out in my mind. With the three fantasy books I just finished, research was limited to looking into finding out more about fantasy-type stuff: parts of a castle, types of bows, arrows, that crossbows shoot bolts, not arrows, clothing that might have been worn in the time(s) the novels were set. Most of what I put into the book I already knew from traveling and reading and being alive for all these years.

Now, though, I have a bigger challenge. If I'm to write a novel--an adventure story--about these beautiful islands and their people, I need to know more than I now do about their culture. I need to know about their traditions, how they view the world, their basic beliefs. What gives them pleasure, what makes them happy, and what scares them. How are they born, how do they grow up, raise families, and finally, how do they die. It will all be incredibly important to get the details right. Or else? Or else the readers will know I'm a phony, that I didn't do enough research to get it right. Make one egregious error and the reader will write you and your book off as just so much garbage. When a reader spends his or her money on what you've written and then spends the time to read it, you owe them absolute authenticity.

This adventure novel will include war, the war that was fought right here in these islands sixty some years ago. That was World War II. I'm sure you're heard of it. Maybe your great grandfather fought in it. My dad did. And in fact, my wife's father fought right here on the island of Guam as a seventeen year old underwater demolitions guy (UDT). So, here are some pictures of what I see when I go for my walks. All this stuff, the caves, the old anti-aircraft guns, the mini submarine, the bombed out house, and the cemetary dedicated to the war dogs who died here are all going to be food for thought in the book. I took these with my Christmas present to myself, my new Nikon. Let me know what you think.