Travail

We seem to exist in a sort of circularity. Once travel was hard and to be dreaded. Then things got easier and better… and then they got to cattle-car-class and crotch fondlers and be there 2 hours before a 40 minute flight. Ok, so I am kidding, flying still means covering distances at speeds and comfort undreamed of by the poor guy who faced a muddy track with a sack on his back. Travel is much easier, and we go further, faster than most of travel for all of human existence.

I mention this because I am about to spend a few days on airplanes, a journey that will have started by the time this goes up. I am going to England to visit my son and daughter-in-law. It’s been too many years since I last saw them, and looking into the dark glass of the future, may be many years, if ever, before I see them again. I’ll write while I can, but laptops only last so long. So: I have a load of homework reading to do, and a little pleasure reading (I have promised two contributions to anthologies and need to read up on the background, and a few novels I need to read more background for, to get place and tone).

A writer’s work is never done, I guess. All grist for the mill – a couple of books are now going to be set in the UK.

OK, got to pack – next you will hear from me will stuck in the endless queue to see the Queen’s remains, which we joined by accident thinking it was baggage collection.

16 comments

  1. And of course as a writer any expenses incurred during a trip where you engage in research for your writing is a legitimate business expense that can be declared on your taxes. At least in the US and it probably helps if the work in question actually generates revenue.
    Not a big thing, but successful starving artists do have to learn to pinch pennies.
    That aside do have a safe and enjoyable trip.

  2. As my husband puts it, may your journey be safe and boring, and the visit everything you desire.
    (I tend to wish for, “just enough excitement to keep you awake, but that’s for long journeys by car. For first responders, I wish them a boring shift).

  3. > I’ll write while I can, but laptops only last so long

    These days most long haul flights have outlets, make sure your charger is in your carry on.

  4. Good luck on the trip. That is a *long* flight.

    Laptop performance has been pretty remarkable over the years. I suspect it is possible to set up a laptop to provide food performance when plugged in, and support very high battery life when undocked, and its just missing the software to handle it.

    I do need to figure out how to do story background research. I think I’ve got a good villian and protagonist, and good motivations, but I’m just not sure enough about how the world functions to know exactly how the villain is trying to achieve their goals.

    1. 1) what kind of world – geography, landforms, distances?
      2) what sort of political system and economy?
      3) What time and tech period?

      With those three, you can start digging. I generally have a time period and rough geographic analogue in mind, and a general sense of what political things I need to learn in order to fill in. For example, for the current work, I read up as much as I could about the early history of what is now Scotland, the Picts and Gaels, folklore, and trade. I’ve got one more book about the legend of Merlin and it’s possible Scottish roots, then I’ll feel comfortable with launching into the world and story.

      1. Right now I’m thinking it’s around mid 1860’s frontier tech, though there’s exposure to scifi level technology and cultures. At least that is where the protagonists come from.

        I feel like I’m having a hard time finding good information on how the social, economic and political structures actually worked in that time period, particularly in the American west. I probably haven’t found the right places to look yet. There’s a ton of stuff on how the ancient Greeks lived, but it seems like weirdly little on how the great plains farmers did.

        I may end up basing the antagonist is a more modern and affluent area, though. I’m thinking he need leverage to accomplish his goals.

      2. Given the information I’m missing I should probably get and read the Little House series, shouldn’t I?

        Does everyone’s reading list get really weird when they start writing?

        On the upside, the oldest is about 4ish, so she’ll probably be ready to start in on those in a few years as is. Just probably shouldn’t put them on the shelves next to the PTSD handbook and thing on modern slave trafficking…

        1. The Little House Books, *Lost Skills of the 19th Century: A Practical Guide,* good histories of the states and territories, Etulian’s *Beyond the Missouri* which is a general history of the American West, books of local tales and lore (like all the Colorado mining folklore, or *Shingling the Fog* about Nebraska’s stories). Anything by Roger Welsch, the Great Plains folklore collector, is a good start for odds and hints, especially if you have an old hand teasing a newcomer. For kids (and kids at heart), Lois Lenski’s books are also good, and explain things that were regional.

  5. Have a wonderful trip and enjoy spending time with your family. Though the Queen’s funeral will be over by the time you get there, I’d be interested in hearing your impressions.

    I myself hope to see Australia again in the next year or so. The last time I visited was probably ten years ago and I would love to go back!

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