Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Character Knows Best

Research for writing takes some interesting turns. The Internet is great for looking things up. It’s even better for getting distracted and forgetting your original search after few clicked links.
Questions can be put to people. I discovered through years of reporting that most people are willing to share what they know if they are asked. Further, many a person’s favorite subject is him or her self. There’s a good chance I’m not the exception to that rule.
My current manuscript concerns itself with some vampires, damphyres (half-human) really, who live in the Old West. The family lives as a regular family and at least two of the offspring want to be cowboys.
Cowboy research is easy enough. Best of all it gave me a great excuse to drop a ridiculous amount of money on cowboy boots. I only wear them around the house and I do it when I’m writing.
I say it helps.
On the vampire side of the ledger the bulk of my research is theoretical. I read somewhere that if you throw grain or seeds in front of one he or she is compelled to stop and count each individual kernel. If interrupted said bloodsucker has to start all over.
Okay, this sort of OCD behavior can be tried. One December morn we had some fresh deer offerings out by the composters in the garden. In the interest of research I told my husband what I needed and had him interrupt me three times while I counted them.
It’s very annoying. I felt awfully sorry for vampires that morning.
That’s about all I can do as my teeth aren’t nearly strong enough to do any jaws-on tests. Even if I had some nice, sharp, pointy eyeteeth I assume there’s a limit to how much even my long-suffering mate will put up with from me.
In another wrinkle, one of characters is a lesbian. I’d vacillated on this point for a while and wondered if it was only because she wanted to be a cowboy. I resisted it for no other reasons than I am limited in my research capabilities. I’m in over my head. I don’t even know what to ask.
I was fighting with my character. Was she sure about this because I really don’t know what to do, and could I please have a sign?
I put it out to the Universe and went about my day looking for vampire info. Clicks took me to a website detailing the major veins in the body. The vein in the inner thigh is the called Greater Saphenous Vein.
There’s no arguing with that kind of a sign.

*Confused about why this is a sign?*
Try here.


the Bag Lady said...

Definitely a sign!

Thanks for giving us this little bit of insight into your world of writing! Ver-r-r-ry interesting!

Leah J. Utas said...

Why thank you, df Bag Lady.
I never thought I'd be counting deer droppings for a book. Life really does take some strange turns.

Reb said...

I'd say that is a sign for sure. You'll have to photograph the boots and show us now. As Sis said, interesting insight into your writing world.

Leah J. Utas said...

Reb, I was going to take a pic to go with this post, but didn't. I see I might have to now. They're Boulet and they're magnificent.
I'm glad the insight was interesting.

Hilary said...

Interesting indeed and I'm glad you shared it. I too, would love to see the boots.

Lover of Life said...

I love the cowboy boots. Anything to stay focused, I always say. Great post.

Leah J. Utas said...

Thanks, Hilary.
I'll see what I can do about a pic.

Hello Lover of Life, it's nice to see you here. Focus is good and the boots are a great help.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

df Leah,

My favorite part of writing is research.


Leah J. Utas said...

It can be exciting, df Terrie.

Barbara Martin said...

Or you could try closing your eyes while you flip through the pages of a large dictionary until you find a page to comfortably stop at, and with your index finger from your left hand find a location on the page that compels you to stop. The 'word' will be your sign as to what steps you take next.