How Research Happens More Often Than We May Admit

History lecture CD (greatly paraphrased): “And then the conspirators acted, converging in three waves, but the revolution faltered and a woman killed a conspirator in the street by throwing a pot and then a lot of people died, and an oppressive government agency was instituted which made a lot of people miserable and also dead. All this happened about the same time as this other horrible mass murder was going on.”

Me, listening in car: “YES!”

Me, looking around empty car guiltily: “I mean, yes, that’s good for my plot. Not, yes, huzzah that a lot of people died horribly. Just, um, a good convergence for that new plot I’ve been kicking around and hoped would work out with appropriate historical timing. And it does. Which is cool. I mean, cool for the story, not cool for the dead people. You know. Who wants donuts?”

Authors are weird.

More Mowing & Murder: Autumn Maze

I’ve mentioned previously that I cut an annual autumn maze. What I didn’t mention is that the last couple of years, I’ve used a secret theme.

It’s hard to invent a wholly new labyrinth each year without being repetitive, so one year I chose an usual word from a book title, a word I figured no one would recognize, and used it as the basis for my maze. It seemed to work pretty well, the maze was reported properly twisty — the word was kitsune — and no one realized they were actually walking through connected letters.

That became my private joke. Half of the maze was bizarre swirls and winding paths, meant to draw out the younger kids but not lose them, and half was a series of interlinked passages based on some personal literary reference. But last year, I was found out, thanks to Google Earth. My mother, who with my father owns the field in which the maze is cut, was looking up her property’s aerial view for some reason and realized the map had been updated after I’d done my maze. Continue reading

Title of the Post

Oh, how I hate titles.

At least in my own case, if a title presents itself early in the process, it’s generally a good title. If I don’t have one by late in the story or, God help me, by revisions, I will never come up with a title I like, and there will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Sometimes you just get lucky. Last week, a perfect title presented itself for a story which doesn’t even have a proper premise yet. Oh, and the perfect title even brought along a friend for a potential sequel.

Old Spice guy nodding, wearing towel in bathroom

Aw, yeah.

But that’s not typical.

For this present story, I’m getting dangerously close to just wallpapering a room with pages of a thesaurus and bringing in a blindfold and darts….