I like writing speculative fiction. Why is that? Because I can make stuff up. I can go several stories in a row without having anything based in reality. But most stories are at least set in the real world, a world with established facts that can’t be refuted. How high are the support towers on the George Washington Bridge? What is the gravity on Jupiter’s moon Callisto? Did JFK die before or after Marilyn Monroe? Unless explicitly working within an alternate universe, you can’t just make these things up for yourself.
That’s where the bane of my existence, research, comes in. I’ve spent countless hours surfing, looking up answers to questions like those in the previous paragraph. Usually, I get sidetracked and spend countless more hours looking up answers to completely unrelated things, wasting precious time I should spend actually writing. But that’s not all. I’ve bought books (Thank you, No Fear Shakespeare, you’re indispensible). I’ve watched youTube videos repeatedly, just to make sure I could describe the Aikido wrist lock properly. I’ve had my sister bring back every pamphlet she could get her hands on from Niagara Falls (the Canadian side, aka “the fun side”). Starting with last week’s blog post, I entered new territory.
Prunes. Last week’s topic was prunes. I had never eaten one before in my life. Since I was writing about them, however, I decided I needed to really know what I was talking about. This isn’t technically the first time I’ve eaten things I’ve written about, but it’s been the other way around. You see, I like food. I like eating it, I like watching shows about it on television, and I like incorporating it into writing. There have been instances when I would write about something because I think it sounds cool (Italian quesadillas, colcannon cannoli) and like the sound of it, so I make some. Never before have I eaten first, written second.
Hopefully, I’ll stop doing this before I write about haggis. Or jellied moose nose.