Saturday, February 7, 2009

Living Vicariously

One of the things I enjoy about writing for a living - even the meager living I make - is the opportunity to branch out and learn about things I'd probably never do otherwise. This is also known as research. However, it doesn't all have to be boring and dull, and it can lead to some interesting things.

For example, I don't fly fish. I'd like to, and will probably learn eventually because it looks like a lot of fun, but right now I don't. For starters there haven't been a lot of places to do that where I've been living the past decade or so of my life. Also there is the matter of getting my father to teach me, which means getting him the time off to do so. Now that I think about it this might be something to accomplish this year....

However, even though I don't I have a character that is the outdoors type. It's not the central theme of the book, or even a main sub-plot (hence no Robert Redford adaptation in it's future) but I think being able to integrate some details into the story makes it more real. Not to mention broadens my horizons about the things I know. I learned a great deal about blacksmithing for an article I had to write that might also someday find it's way into a work of fiction.

Those are things I could probably find the opportunity to do myself, other things are probably relegated to books for the foreseeable future. Such as sailing a boat on the ocean - not the HMS Victory type but a smaller, more modern sloop or something. Or wading through the jungle in sandals because anything else gets your feet to wet (learned that in National Geographic, of all places). Or riding a camel in the Arabian desert....

All of which gets filed away for potential future use, and in the meantime takes my imagination to places it otherwise might not go.

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