Never a Dull Moment

Long time no see.

What writing has happened in the past couple days since we talked much? A little bit, but most of it isn't coherent. The problem with Chapter Thirteen is that it's fun, and unfortunately, expected. So, I set about trying to spice it up a little.

Usually when I feel like I want to spice something up, I try and expand my horizons. In this case, I started some research. Mabel's Chapter Thirteen adventure takes place off campus in a national park, so I started to look into national parks. What national parks are near Los Angeles? I swung for the Santa Monica mountains. (I've actually been there, which makes the writing easier.)

What sorts of animals live in the Santa Monica mountains?
Salamanders, eagles, falcons, bugs of various shapes and colors, reptiles, raptors, bobcats, cayotes, and mountain lions... The list goes on and on!

And then I choose a couple animals for my characters to encounter and dug a little deeper. Lawrence is a rabid eco guy, so I had to make sure I was getting my facts straight. He's the sort of guy who may curse up a storm every other line, but he does know a falcon from an eagle, and that raptors are birds of prey. He's a proud National Audubon Society member. (It was the first environmental group he joined, and unfortunately all the groups he's a member of have a fake name in their records.)

Researching something you know little about is a good way to widen horizons and put a new spin on a setting or character. I know that sounds terribly obvious, but it is very true.

Another thing I like to do is simply list words that I know I haven't used yet in the story. I prefer to use nouns and the occasional adjective. Maybe a phrase or two. Sometimes I just scan random newsprint, jot down odd words from a song, or write down things from an ad. Really anything. The point is that the words haven't jumped into my head, and they aren't mine, but if I write them down I can come back to them and maybe be able to slid them into my story. Maybe I'll get a fresh thought. I literally have an entire page of words.

I have also abandoned my wonderful Sakae Starbucks for a change of writing setting. True that I haven't been getting as much written, but I'm getting some fresher ideas.

And maybe I visited another Starbucks...