Sometimes when I’m working a section of story and can’t find my connection to the sensory elements to anchor myself into the moment, I have to go outside my comfort zone.
My little brother gifted me a skydiving adventure when I was writing Murder of Crows. I had no real idea what terminal velocity felt like, and that one plummet from an airplane was enough sensory overload to rip out an entire chapter and re-write it because it taught me so much about the reality vs. the imagination.
I’ve had similar issues with Sinnet of Dragons, namely, the dragons. Sure, my imagination is rich, but I also work full time in a non-creative function, so my ability to dig into a lush mental-scape can sometimes feel clunky and take more effort than it should.
I’d been struggling with the experience of flight for Sinnet of Dragons. Flying on an open dragon seat, or an Oritove carrier is a completely different experience than flying in an Avian sling, well, I imagine.
But I’d been struggling as to how to define those differences. So I went on a short open seater, biplane flight with nostalgicwarbirdrides.com in Pacific City this weekend.
That fifteen-minute ride blew my mind. So much wonder, beauty, and breathtaking freedom.
I landed buzzing with energy, legs shaking, face aching from grinning and my hair a wild massive matted mess. I couldn’t have been happier with the experience and what it did for my research.
Dragons are faster than Avians, the wind speeds require different attire for eyes and mouths. (The wind burned tears from my eyes and left crusty streaks into my hairline. Next time, goggles.) Oritoves are even faster.
They will be less affected by crosswinds than Avians, but have a wider banking requirement.
Sea salt air and summer iodine brine taste different higher up. It’s definitely chillier than I’ve been writing for that altitude, I’ll make adjustments for that. Easier to dehydrate, possibly from grinning with my mouth open for so long. And so on and so forth, the sensory data unleashed a writing storm.
While it doesn’t seem like much, or even necessary to some, these little adventures make enormous differences in the texture of the story and quality of the writing. It’s one thing to imagine it, and another to get as close to an experience as you can (Dragons being nearly impossible, obviously) in order to anchor as much reality into the language and storytelling as possible.
As an artist, this leads to some potentially strange experiences and adventures… if you’re lucky.
Thank you, Mike Carpentiero, for a fabulous lift and a glorious Saturday morning.
Here’s to more exciting flight research in the future!