Doing what your characters do

Or doing what they’ve done, or going to do what they already did, or …

Have you done what your characters have done or will do? Will you soon be doing what they already did?

Even in the universe of fiction I found that engaging in the activity makes it far easier to write about it.

The underlying theme in my mind, as I write, is the simple standard of ‘is this plausible and if it isn’t how and where do I introduce earlier elements to make it plausible?’.

It doesn’t have to be real, just plausible. (though there is one plot device where I’m intentionally using actual results to make the point, just changing the names involved)

Is it plausible to swim with a shark? Lot’s of stories and videos abound online of doing so. But to have actually experienced it?

I did.

Twice, in one scuba dive. I talk about it HERE. That Blacktip shark was right there, not even 15 feet away.

My main character in the Distance In Time series, The Chairman, was a competition shooter in his youth. I’ve done that and keep at it every now and then.

The Chairman is a pilot. I’ve flown planes, performed landings, steep turns, aerobatics …

The character’s wife, Michelle, is a computer genius. Am I? No, but I’m familiar with code, with the concept of how it works, the meaning behind the code format. Expert? No. But enough where I can write about it.

I still have to skydive though. Yeah, the Chairman has done that also 😀

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Part 2. Surprises in writing a science fiction novel.

Second surprise in writing a science fiction thriller?

Similarities.

Ok, so this wasn’t entirely a surprise.  My early writing involved the more simple research, such as How to Write a Book in 30 Days and The Essential Guide to Writing a Novel.

In the Essential Guide, Chapter 5, Benefits of a Genre he states:

“Writing in a genre doesn’t mean the writer needs to fear her plot has been done before.  It’s all been done before.”

I had certainly read many fiction books beforehand and this nugget brought that knowledge out of my subconscious, which had secretly discovered this long ago, to my conscious mind.

If it involves people, then it has been done before.

This actually freed me to do my writing.  “Would it be like …” was no longer a concern of mine.

Somewhere, somewhen, yes, it would be like ‘X’.

The one similarity that has intrigued me is the use of mythological names.  In my Distance In Time series my main character, the Chairman, names his first spaceplane ‘Hermes – the God of Speed’.

You know how many other writers use that Hermes name for one of their spaceships?  Heck REAL ships are named that.

The Chairman names his starship ‘Athena’.  One of her characteristics is that she is the ‘Goddess of Heroic Endeavor’.  I had originally chosen Enterprise, more for its meaning, ‘readiness to engage in daring or difficult action’, than due to my love for the Star Trek series.

But I liked the whole mythology thing better!

So I don’t worry about similarities 😀

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Novel research. Easy right?

Interviews with people over a cup of coffee, maybe a light lunch.

Phone calls, emails and texts back and forth.

Poring over past videos, photos, notes and online forum posts from my personal experiences.

Then the typical bit of light reading (below).

All for my science fiction thriller. I’ve also got plenty of stuff for the civil forfeiture plot device.

Plus more still. Like more mechanical engineering textbooks, other novel related materials, notes …

I love it 😀

Book research