I’ve reached past the word count for NaNoWriMo2015, and can now coast to the end, hoping to reach 90,000 by the end of the month. I have a host of ‘irons’ in the fire, because my brain is running on varying paths. I am having to stop, and use my journals to catalog ideas, and questions that randomly pop into my head. I think this is why I have several computers, several journals going at once. It’s a delicate balance. Sometimes I wonder if that 1% Italian ancestry isn’t Leonardo da Vinci, and his complex multi-tasking abilities.
So, the distraction for the writing on several fronts today is mapping out an idea I had from a dream. The time period is focused on the American Civil War, and has been running amok in my head since May. I am so glad I got to visit Washington, DC this summer, and hike over to the Fords Theatre. I knew from living in Alexandria, VA at one time that the theatre had a great display on the Civil War and Lincoln’s assassination. Well, in the years that I have been absent from our Nation’s Capital, the display has certainly grown, and developed into something unique.
I think I spent close to two hours walking through the displays, reading, taking notes, taking pictures for later. The only disappointment was the gift shop. I wish it had been bigger, with more books. But I kept reminding myself, that I had only so much room in my suitcase, and that I could always scan the title, and order a Kindle edition. I should have found the nearest bookstore, like Barnes & Noble and sifted through their aisles. Oh, well, lesson learned.
So I devoted my time to research, and really studying the exhibits. Jotting down ideas in my Moleskine reporters notebook, and even adding ideas for the story as they came into my mind. I played the ‘what if’ game that writers do.
I have been intrigued by the idea of spies during the war, and hashed out several plot arcs to that effect. The question that I kept returning to was ‘hasn’t this been done before, how can you make it your own?’
But never toss out any idea, write it down and revisit, after it incubates. And usually it means more research.
Research is the crux of any good writer. I follow the author Dan Brown on Facebook and am amazed at the depth of his research for his Robert Langdon series. The man gets down and dirty with his subject, and that is a good sign of a successful writer. Some days, I am not as devoted, and sooner or later that lack of attention come around and bite me in the ass. Well, this time, I am going to be devoted to the subject. I can write, but I need that detail for depth. So…on with the research…