Friday, March 7, 2014

Researching the future, part deux (AWAKENING 3)

Many months ago, I wrote this post about the difficulties in researching the future for the third novella in the Lilly Frank series. This week I've been working hard on Awakening 3, and while I've definitely made some progress re: word count, a surprising amount of time has been devoted to research and to figuring out the timeline.

Things I've researched in this last week, in no particular order:
  • Yaks
  • Latest trends in renewable energy
  • Asian geography
  • Salt mines
  • "chi in sex"
  • Astrological signs - cardinal, fixed & mutable; water, air & fire; various "love match" combinations; Christian interpretations of astrological symbols
  • Krav Maga, Muay Thai, Aikido (Steven Segal!), kung fu, hapkido & Qi Gong (found this amazing Nat'l Geographic segment, which is part of their "Fight Science" series, on the Iron Shirt)

And then, in addition to that, I've done some "research on the future" thinking, especially about international politics and the rise of China as the world's leading power, including its expansion.

It bothers me to put all this time and energy into these things, which are necessary to my understanding of the story and the world in which the story takes place but most of which will not find a place in the story itself. Sigh. It kind of feels like wasting time, even though I know it's not. Not to whine about it or anything. :P

And the timeline! The story timeline, I mean. It's a real pain in the neck, I tell ya. I got it all laid out, and then I reread parts of the first two books to help me out a little with some of the specifics and I realized that there's a major discrepancy. I don't think it's a make-or-break kind of thing, but I hate inconsistencies. What am I supposed to do? (I guess this is why the smart/organized ones write the whole trilogy before they publish any of the books.) Again, not whining. Just sharing my process. ;)

BUT it does cheer me up to know that I can share some of what I'm learning here and to be able to offer some "inside information" on the world I'm writing about. For example:
It used to be, in some of the bigger and more cosmopolitan cities, such as Rome, London, New York and Tokyo, there were underground clubs where humans went in order to mix with vampires and offer their blood, but those died out around 20XX, in part due to a decrease in the popularity of religions and in part due to a growing emphasis in Western thought on self-care, a movement that came to view self-sacrifice as an evil and ultimately not in the best interest of either the individual or of society as a whole. This movement, in turn, was motivated in large part by a reaction against China's role as the new economic superpower and the Chinese regime's emphasis on service to the greater good, which lead at times to what some considered to be a violation of basic human rights, e.g. mandatory sterilization of the people living under Chinese rule - both China itself and the New Chinese Provinces - when a less forceful approach to population control proved inadequate.
And now I must excuse myself to get back to working on the novel. Have a lovely weekend!

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