What is my coolest research?

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I’m attempting to ignore the heart-wrenching stuff going on – a family crisis on top of the medical problems that meant I was late posting last month’s post for Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day. No real excuse then for evading this post although I’m so depressed I can’t escape to my writing worlds, just into a game world where I can fight spiders and hyenas rather than injustice.

Okay, so what is this month’s optional question?

May 3 Question: What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?

That got me thinking about all the different bits of research that I had done for my various books from my debut to novels at the first draft stage. My debut was set against the equestrian world that I worked in as a journalist so there were some minor extra questions that I had to ask or facts to check – but I had to research diabetes and sportspeople, plus PTSD. For other books, there have been how online games are produced, shamanism, Romany customs, and policing in a bilingual country. But weird or cool?

 

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Artist’s concept for a high-altitude, long-duration airship that could be used as a research platform or for commercial purposes. Image credit: Mike Hughes (Eagre Interactive)/Keck Institute for Space Studies

 

Coolest must be researching the latest developments in airships for Eagle’s Passage, my alternative history set in 2020. Here and there are so many great things happening from Air Cushion Landing systems to NASA’s challenge to produce a high-altitude airship. A high-tech airship called Draken Njal Migisi is the main craft in my novel and I got the chance to project many of today’s design ideas, including one for SOLAR-JETS – engines powered by solar kerosene, which I also use in my post-apocalyptic novel Storms Compass. I still use solar cells as a key component.

And for anyone wondering about my airship’s name, the first word is Norwegian for Dragon – as some longships were called – and for Njal Migisi visit my C is for Cristóbal Colón post in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Mind you, researching the History of Kanata has been cool – and at times weird.

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The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day. We post our thoughts on our own blogs. We talk about our doubts and the fears we have conquered. We discuss our struggles and triumphs. We offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling.

Please visit others in the group and connect with my fellow writers.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

And be sure to check out our Facebook group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/IWSG13/

Our revved up IWSG Day question may prompt us to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. If so, we include our answer to the question in our IWSG post or let it inspire our post if we are struggling with something to say.

The awesome co-hosts for the May 3 posting of the IWSG are Nancy Gideon, Tamara Narayan, Liesbet @ Roaming About, Michelle Wallace, and Feather Stone!

 

Insecure and Invalid  

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Apologies that I missed my monthly post for Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day, although only by about twenty-four hours. I even have a valid excuse and a doctor’s note – well pages of notes and homework.

Wind back to Monday – basically, I had woken early Monday morning with terrible MS spasms throughout my body. They were so bad that my wife Juanita thought she was losing me, but she helped me through the nightmare. Then throughout the day, there was a growing stream of MS symptoms starting with an inability to type coherently. That was very clear in my final post on Facebook:

“After a terrible night when Juanita Clarke was luckily tere for me, psting is very hard as mystyping everything. So apologies for siaslence.”

From then on, my wife had to keep everyone on Facebook informed of what happened. The shaking became uncontrollable and I slid out of my wheelchair at which point, Juanita rang her granddaughter Jessica, who dashed around to help. Her middle son Jason also arrived. I then vomited up my supper all over the office carpet. Jason phoned 911 and the paramedics arrived in a fire truck and an ambulance.

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I was taken to the ER at St Luke’s Hospital, Meridian where they diagnosed pneumonia which had triggered those MS symptoms. In short, I ended up spending three nights in hospital being pumped with drugs and fluids, sucked of blood, and cared for by a great team at St Luke’s – too many to mention by name but you know who you are, especially if I grilled you about your ancestry or talked incessantly about my writing.

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Throughout this all I missed my wife, Juanita, although she did visit me – at the hospital where she spent two night after her heart attack in late December. Our dogs were always on my thoughts as they couldn’t visit, but I had to confront everything I would lose if I gave up. So now I am back home and posting this explanation for my tardiness and failure to post yesterday.

Yes, I know I posted ‘D is for Donibane’ but some of my A to Z Challenge posts were written and scheduled in advance. However, the last one written and scheduled is ‘I is for Ice’. Hopefully, I can stay ahead, but I won’t be taking Sundays off unless the doctor orders me to rest…. which she has.

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#IWSG – TO BOLDLY GO

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Attempting to ignore my ill-health, it’s time for my monthly post for Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day.

January 4th Question: What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?

As there are a few rules that I wish I’d never heard, it seems easiest to start with the first one I broke.

At school in the 1960s and 1970s, my teachers tried hard to teach me, and other students, not to split our infinitives, ever. I never felt that these teachers gave me a reasonable explanation, so when the split infinitive worked, I insisted that I had the right, in the words of Star Trek “to boldly go where no man has gone before.” This usage seemed appropriate as many of my earliest short story attempts were SF.

I felt justified in breaking this cardinal rule when I later heard that the first English Grammar used Latin Grammars as its basis – the Latin infinitive is one word so can’t be split. To my mind, that explained why my teachers, most of them trained in Latin, stuck to the rule.

I have since discovered that although many authorities quote the Latin argument, others point to different 19th-century grammarians for the rule’s origin. Check out these links if you want to know more about split infinitives:

http://www.grammar.com/split-infinitives-2/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Split_infinitive

http://grammarist.com/grammar/split-infinitives/

 

As for me, I learned as a teenager that there were writing rules that needed questioning, and fifty years later nothing has changed, and I welcome excuses to break rules.

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The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day. We post our thoughts on our own blogs. We talk about our doubts and the fears we have conquered. We discuss our struggles and triumphs. We offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling.

Please visit others in the group and connect with my fellow writers.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

And be sure to check out our Facebook group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/IWSG13/

Our revved up IWSG Day question may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

The awesome co-hosts for this January 4th posting of the IWSG are Eva @ Lillicasplace,
Crystal Collier, Sheena-kay Graham, Chemist Ken, LG Keltner, and Heather Gardner.

#IWSG – Favorite Aspect of Being a Writer

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I’m still struggling with my health so normal posts are postponed until…whenever.

For now, it’s time for my monthly post for Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day:

November 2 Question: What is your favorite aspect of being a writer?

If I had more than one novel published my answer might be different. I would have books to promote and readers to link with. However, I’m still at the early stages so I need to focus on those stages of writing.

For now, my favorite aspect must be able to take the germ of an idea and create an outline where that initial inspiration comes alive. Yes, the actual first draft is meant to bring that alive, but I find that my characters and their actions emerge on stage in the outlining stage.

Or is that because as I work on this post, I’m outlining an idea for NaNoWriMo? Maybe when I get into the draft, that will be my favorite aspect of being a writer. Or have I misunderstood the question? Am I meant to say being my able to work wherever?

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The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day. We post our thoughts on our own blogs. We talk about our doubts and the fears we have conquered. We discuss our struggles and triumphs. We offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling.

Please visit others in the group and connect with my fellow writers.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

And be sure to check out our Facebook group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/IWSG13/

Our revved up IWSG Day question may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

The awesome co-hosts for this November 2 posting of the IWSG are Joylene Nowell Butler, Jen Chandler, Mary Aalgaard, Lisa Buie Collard, Tamara Narayan, Tyrean Martinson, and Christine Rains!

 

#IWSG – When do you know your story is ready?

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Apologies for the long silence, but the long journey from North Wales to Idaho was amazing and exhausting = another post when I recover. For now, I will say that my health is still low and I have been sleeping in my wheelchair – not recommended – as I can’t stretch out on a normal bed. Scary medical details next time and cool pictures arriving in New York by sea.

Golden sunrise clouds and rising sun above sea , Atlantic Ocean

Anyway, I’ve finally got online to post for Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day:

October 5 Question: When do you know your story is ready?

My stories tend to be plotted in detail so I know most of the twists and endings. Revisions address holes and errors, especially when I remember to use critique partners, writing groups, or editors. I tend to be guided by their comments as to when the story is ready or finished.

However, in the last resort I know I’m finished when I start crossing my ‘I’s and dotting my ‘t’s.

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The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day. We post our thoughts on our own blogs. We talk about our doubts and the fears we have conquered. We discuss our struggles and triumphs. We offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling.

Please visit others in the group and connect with my fellow writers.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

And be sure to check out our Facebook group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/IWSG13/

Our revved up IWSG Day question may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

The awesome co-hosts for the October 5 posting of the IWSG are Beverly Stowe McClure, Megan Morgan, Viola Fury, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Angela Wooldridge, and Susan Gourley!

 

 #IWSG – Finding Time to Write

 

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The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day, and for the last few months the group have revved up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive!

Every month, they’ll announce a question that members can answer in the IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt us to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story.

So on to the September 7th QUESTION:

 

How do you find the time to write in your busy day?

A very appropriate question during this hectic period when we leave for the US in 12 days. In fact, at this point the answer has to be that “I don’t cope and struggle to find any time”. All the free time is going on sorting things out for the mammoth move from Harlech, North Wales to Boise, Idaho. Our desktops get packed away on September 15th into a shipping container, along with most of our possessions. Expected transit time is 6-8 weeks including customs clearance, so we won’t see those goods until sometime in November.

We leave September 20th on the Queen Mary 2, which sails into New York on September 27th. From there it will be a 2,500-mile cross-country road trip to our new home in Boise. Plus side is that my wife’s kids are all in Boise, ten minutes from our house. And the change from wet Wales to the high desert of the Treasure Valley will be a real health boost.

At the moment, my aching body is suffering with the multiple sclerosis MonSter or MaelStrom, and I struggle to sleep each night or relax during the day. So writing has become a forgotten art.

Maybe when the normal busy days return, then I can attempt to squeeze a few hours in every evening as I used to do. No specific word target, just a few hours to let my creative brain loose on the keyboard. And if I sleep well, then I can wake inspired and scribble some thoughts in a notebook.

Or am I just fantasising that such days will ever return?

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The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day. We post our thoughts on our own blogs. We talk about our doubts and the fears we have conquered. We discuss our struggles and triumphs. We offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling.

Please visit others in the group and connect with my fellow writers.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

And be sure to check out our Facebook group –https://www.facebook.com/groups/IWSG13/

Our revved up IWSG Day question may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

The awesome co-hosts for this September 7th posting of the IWSG are C. Lee McKenzie,Rachel Pattison, Elizabeth Seckman, Stephanie Faris, Lori L MacLaughlin, and Elsie Amata!