Sunday, August 16, 2009

Day 6

I spent a good portion of the day researching and writing notes about the Burma Railway (aka "Death Railway") during the Pacific War, especially the background stories of Bridge 277, better known as the Bridge On the River Kwai. Part of my story now shifts to that location and time period. Obviously, I'm not going to rewrite Bridge On the River Kwai by Pierre Boule, but the history there is so rich that I feel I can use the same setting for this portion of my story. It also lends to a plot development later in the book.

So, no, I'm not writing prose today, but I'm getting a lot of words done outlining the story and creating the notes.

Wars may be terrible and I'm quite a pacifist to begin with, but they sure make for a wealth of materials to write about. My problem is research: exactly how much information I need? Certainly I'm not writing a dissertation and I don't intend to attend to all the historical accuracies to write my story. I mean, if Mr. Boule could get away with gross inaccuracy in his classic (and David Lean in his Academy Award-winning film), then I certainly am allowed to exercise certain creative licenses with my fictional work. Still, I want to get things right, at least the spirit and environment so I can suspend my readers' disbelief a while longer.

Certainly writing a novel set against historical events has been a challenge for me. At times I wonder if I'm biting more than I can chew. At times, however, the information I gathered and the plot ideas that germinated from the research were exhilarating. If nothing else, I've learned so much.


500 words today, 2500 words total
359 days, 183000 words to go

3 comments:

Dawn Colclasure said...

I have enjoyed reading of your progress with this challenge, Ray. And I'm glad you've decided to keep going even though you had one bad day.

The thing I notice is that you were blogging about haircuts, work, ideas and such, and I'm wondering, is this eating into the time he could use to write in the WIP? Not trying to be harsh, you know. But it did make me recall how, in the past, I would blog or write essays instead of write in my books, even when I had some deadlines looming. I just focused my thoughts on other, trivial things instead of the work at hand.

That is something to think about and so I put it out there. :)

I have never seen Bridge on the River Kwai, but my dad, who used to be a BIG war movie freak, had that movie on TV a lot when I was a kid, so I knew that whistling song. I am going to see that movie someday soon. (Well, erm, it's in my queue, sooo....)

When I read historical novels set during wartime, one thing I like to see are references to historical events. Like characters saying things like "Eisenhower thinks his next big idea is the way to go" or something like that. Mentioning of news stories or something people are familiar with (such as General Patton or Iwo Jima).

The novels The Thorn Birds and Deafening are worth a look to see how those authors did it, if you have not read them yet. :)

Good luck keeping up the challenge! **hug**

Ray Wong said...

No, actually blogging keeps me going. Not doing anything actually makes me procrastinate more. Blogging about it makes me feel the need to get the words down.

But I can't blog about writing every SINGLE post. That would become stale every soon and that cuts into my creative writing as well. Blogging about my life keeps the creative juices flowing. Hard to explain.

Dawn Colclasure said...

Wow. How very interesting it acts as a motivator. That's good! :)