The Queen of Tangential Thinking

20 05 2010

Weather:  High: 70º &  Sunny– A whiff of summer in the air. Bah.

The title for this post comes from a conversation I was having with a couple of friends, some who are writers. I was commenting on the fact that whenever I start researching something for a story, whether it be history, or mythology or whatever is needed, I find myself wandering off into tangential searches. These tend to be triggered by a small piece of info in the topic I was initially researching.

For example, yesterday, in a fit of pique spawned by my current bout of writers dry well syndrome, I decided to do a little world building to see if it would jumpstart some creativity. So, I thought, let’s see if we can’t create an origin story for the race of vampires in my story. Let’s look for ancient vampire myths.

First I started with Ancient Egypt, seeing that the Archive story arc is heavily immersed in the Library of Alexandria. Since that was one pole stuck in the sand, timeline wise, I figured I’d work BACKWARDS. So into Mesopotamia I went, and started with the varied groups that existed around that time. Picking through the different kingdoms/civilizations, I stumbled across the Hurrians, a Trans-Caucasus race that had some ties to the Hittites & had , much like the Hittites, vanished from the timeline, taking their unique language and mythology with them.  (They didn’t really “Vanish” as in POOF!, but their people were absorbed by the Assyrians, as was their language.)

well, this triggered a memory of Lilitu and her lore related to the area. So I was off to research Lilitu myths, trying to weed out those that were from the Judaeo-Christian lore. This in turn revealed archaeological links, which in turn sprouted some tendrils into the practice of kurgan burial…and you see how I somehow got derailed from my initial search.

This is typical for me, and although it may seem a scatter-shot way to go about researching, it has actually led to some very juicy plot points. I look for the holes in historical records. This is where you can plant your fictional seeds and see what takes root. Holes produce a lot of “what ifs?”. And “what ifs?” lead to “how about this!”  and voila! You have a nice little plot bunny a’nibbling at your brain stem.

So, now armed with about 40 pieces of random info, I shall endeavor to bang and mash together a history of my vampires.  Next, onto the plot of Book#2, which is looking to be gutted from the original and re-written. A challenge indeed, but I want something percolating on the stove while I try and shop around Book #1.



One response

20 05 2010

I loves this kind of research. Rock on my fellow research-star, rock on. 🙂

Also, been there with gutting stories and rewriting. It’s painful but then it’s really good when it’s fixed and pretty.

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