research obsessions

Here’s the thing: I can’t fake it. Or to be more exact, I can’t live with faking it. Writing a short scene set in a place I’ve never been, really, how hard can that be? Just… gloss over the fuzzy details. Who cares what this particular place smells like? What color the sea is? How long it takes to get from one place to another?

The answer: my characters care. They are uneasy if there’s insufficient data for them to work with. So today, reading over the first chapter of Queen of Swords the characters tapped me on the shoulder and said, you know you can’t get away with this. Hit the books.

I don’t live in a big city, or anywhere near a good research library. I love our local library; they work really hard to provide good services on an almost non-existant budget. In fact, I’ll have to write a little about libraries, I think, straight away.

But the problem: constructing a fictional island that fits into the overall setting of the Lesser Antilles. What I’d like is a small island with a cove like pictures I’ve seen from Greece or Turkey. Never been to those islands, probably won’t be going. So today I spent three hours researching books on the subject and I gave my credit card a workout. Tomorrow I’ll have to go ahead and start on a different chapter, I suppose.