Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Breakthrough

A quick bit of business before I start: I'm going to be away next week, from my job, my normal life, and from blogging. I'm very excited to go on vacation (without going into detail, I'll just say that it's been a rough couple of weeks), but I can't believe it means I'm going to miss my first IWSG - EVER. Well, as long as 'ever' means 'since I signed up almost a year ago.' It'll make me feel insecure to miss it, of course, but I have a really good excuse: it's my birthday next Wednesday, and my wedding anniversary a few days after that, and I'm going to be as far away from a computer (and any other electronic device) as I can possibly manage.

I'll be back the week after, and back to the IWSG in August, so please don't take me off of the list yet, Mr. Cavanaugh! ;)

Now then. A couple of weeks ago, I complained at length about being bored to tears with research, and many of you gently told me to get off of my lazy, research-addled butt and write a little instead.

Ok, no one said that. You were all much nicer than that, but the message was received in any case. Gratefully.

Funny enough, it was the research itself that did it. I was so fed up with textbooks that I found a movie to watch instead - Himalaya. To quote its Rotten Tomatoes page, it is "a fiction film about the forgotten people of Tibet, focusing on their daily lives and traditional customs."

Daily lives??? Traditional customs??? JACKPOT! Here, finally would be real, normal people going about their lives! This is what I've been dying to find!! Fiction, schmiction, I say.

No, don't worry, I know it's a movie; I took everything I saw with a large grain of salt (which is ironic, but you won't get the joke if you don't watch the film). However, one of the best things about this film was that it was shot over nine months in the Himalayas, among the Dolpo people of Nepal, who, Wikipedia tells me, have "preserved...Tibetan culture in relatively pure form." In fact, with the exception of a couple of roles, almost every part in the film is played by an actual Dolpo tribe member.

The movie is only a little over an hour and a half, but it took me the better part of a day to watch it, because I kept having to pause it to take notes. Everything was helpful, from the way the women tied blankets around their waists, to how the men wore their hair, to where they slept inside their low stone houses. This is the sort of practical, everyday information that is so hard to find, and yet is so essential to me as a writer.

I really don't know if I could tell you if the movie is any good. I didn't really notice, which means, as far as I can guess, that it was pretty good, because I'm generally super picky about movies. But I was so focused on gathering every tiny bit of information that I truly didn't care one way or the other.

What I can say is that I'm very, very grateful to the movie - and to all of you. As soon as it ended, instead of doing more research, I went off and wrote two big chunks for the Tibetan lifetime. It took almost no time, and I have no idea if what I wrote will end up in the book, but I don't care. It was incredibly useful: it helped me solidify some plot points, get to know my characters better, and gave me a chance to write about the glorious, unbelievable setting I'd gotten to see in the movie.

Not bad, eh?? Image courtesy of http://bossnepal.com/oscar-nominated-nepali-movie-caravanhimalaya/


At some point, after I've worked on those freewrites a bit, I'll post a snippet here. Perhaps even when I'm back the week after next?

Thanks again to all of you, and I'll see you on the other side of VACATION!

52 comments:

  1. So you glad found a movie to help you out.

    Enjoy your vacation!

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  2. Yay! Happy birthday and anniversary! Here's a gift to help you celebrate, fabulous woman: http://crystalcollier.blogspot.com/2014/06/awards-for-meawards-for-you.html

    Anyhow, way to get back to the writing. I love how huge your project is and the unique places and times it takes us. When you first told us about it, I sat back, laughed and shook my head. It's enough for me to research one era for historical fiction, and lady, I've been stewing in it for 10 years! To wrap my head around several, all for one work? You're super ambitious, and it's going to be awesome when it all comes together.

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    1. Ooo, awards! YAY! Heading over shortly!

      Thanks, Crystal :) I often sit back and laugh and shake my head, too. It's a reasonable reaction, LOL!

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    2. As long as you've got cheese to go with the head shake, eh?

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  3. Glad you found something that helped you out! I think it's crazy how much research writers have to end up doing. But it helps if you want to get every detail right.

    Have fun on your vacation! If you wanted to, you could write an IWSG post in advance and schedule it...but you wouldn't be able to look at it that day...or promote it...or visit other blogs...yeah, maybe it is better to skip it. But I think you have to skip two to get booted off the list, so no worries.

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    1. Thank you!! I was thinking about doing just that, but then I also realized that I wouldn't be around to promote OR return visits, so I decided to just bag it and have a vacation. And I think you're right - as long as I post in August, I should be good :)

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  4. Don't feel one bit bad about taking a break. Go enjoy yourself.

    And YAY for the writing breakthrough. I can't wait to read it! :D

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  5. Happy Everything! Breaks are needed to recharge our batteries. enjoy it.

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  6. I often watch big epic battle scenes in movies just to get a feel for how to choreograph them in my novels. Funner than reading textbooks. :)

    Enjoy your vacation/birthday/anniversary!

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    1. Ooo, good idea! Much more fun. Thanks!

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  7. Have a great vacation and happy birthday and happy anniversary. Glad the movie inspired. I need to find one of those.

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  8. Happy Birthday and anniversary! I hope you have a wonderful vacation :) And that's awesome that you found such a perfect film. I'm happy to hear that it was so helpful!!

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  9. Happy birthday, anniversary, and vacation! I hope you get renewed on your break from online activities.
    I love that you were inspired by that film. I've been using films a lot for the research for my current project, because I've been having the same problem as you--there's not a lot of everyday stuff for my setting.
    Congrats on your epiphany--I love when that happens!

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    1. Thank you!! I know it'll be wonderful :)

      I never really used films for research before, but I'm totally a convert now. It was so helpful! I hope you find a film that's as helpful, too!

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  10. Enjoy your birthday and anniversary next week! And I'm glad to hear that you got some writing done. Sounds like that movie did the trick. I hope your project goes smoothly from here on out.

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  11. Hope you have a wonderful vacation! Happy birthday and have fun!

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  12. Happy Birthday! Happy Anniversary! Happy Research Celebration!

    It's great to hear you found something that'll help you.

    It's weird. For some reason, your blog isn't showing up on my blog roll on Bloglovin', even though it says I'm following you. :(

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    1. Haha, thanks!!

      Hmm, that's weird about Bloglovin'. I would say that I'll look into it...except that I have no idea how.

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  13. Glad you found that movie!
    Have a great time away celebrating your birthday and anniversary. Don't worry - I won't kick you off the list.

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  14. Glad the film helped you and inspired you. Enjoy next week and Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary (I am thinking about the song from the Flintstones right now)

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  15. Enjoy your vacation, and happy early birthday and anniversary! :)

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  16. Have fun away from the blogosphere! Glad you found some inspiration in the movie. Sometimes research can be fun :)

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    1. Yup, sometimes it can! Not often...LOL...but it does happen, thank goodness :)

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  17. Breakthroughs are always awesome. ^_^ Glad you had that one, still really looking forward to reading this.

    Hope your vacation is awesome and relaxing.

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  18. I was writing a book about a stalker a while back and spent hours watching videos on stalking and mass events...there was an old TV movie with Brooke Shields about a woman named Laura who was stalked and, when she rejected her stalker, he came to work shooting. I found that watching that sort of thing actually was more motivating and set more of a tone for writing than reading about it did. I think video can definitely be more powerful.

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    1. Yikes. I'm so glad you found a film that was helpful, but that doesn't sound like a pleasant thing to have to immerse yourself in! You're right, though, about the visual medium being powerful.

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  19. I'm sorry you've had some rough weeks. I hope your vacay and celebrations (happy birthday and anniversary, btw) help get you on the path to happiness once again!

    And woo hoo for helpful movies!!

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    1. Thanks, Ava :) I'm looking forward to that path!

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  20. How awesome this helped you out. I'm sorry you've had a rough time but I hope you have a WONDERFUL vacation!! And Happy Birthday & Happy Anniversary as well! :)

    I wanted to make sure and stop by here this week as I had my big public speaking event on Tuesday where I had to stand up on my own and talk for about 40 minutes. I practiced and used your tips and it went so well! I actually enjoyed myself, which was a miracle. So I am SO grateful you took the time to help me out!

    Take care and enjoy your trip. :)

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    1. YAY!! Oh this just made my day. My week! I'm so, SO glad the tips helped, and that everything went well, and that you had fun! That's miraculous and wonderful :) Congratulations!!

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  21. Now that's my kind of research. Movies are amazing sometimes. So glad you were inspired to write so much and I can't wait to see a snippet. Happy Birthday and Anniversary and have fun on vacation. It is always good to get away from normal life for a while. You'll be inspired when you get back, I'm sure.

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    1. Thanks so much! I'm REALLY looking forward to it :)

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  22. You do need to refill the well for the creativity to come back. All the best!

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  23. I'll be going on a vacation soon myself. Hopefully that will get me all recharged and ready for writing again. Oh I'll bring my computer with me with the silly idea that I'll get some writing done, but it almost never happens, which is probably why I'm so ready to write by the time I get back. Have a great vacation.

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  24. Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary! Enjoy your vacation!

    So cool that you found a movie that was exactly what you needed for your research. I love it when things come together like that and I'm able to write a scene that feels 'real'. I know it will be awesome! (Sorry, had to use that word.) :)

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  25. Come back refreshed! All the best!

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  26. Awesoooome breakthroug!

    I hope you are having the bet bithday ever.

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  27. Glad you are able to take a break and go on vacation. We all need to get away. We write better when we return!

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  28. A very happy Birthday, Liz, and Happy Anniversary. I think your excuse is warranted. Have a good one.

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  29. A very happy Birthday, Liz, and Happy Anniversary.

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  30. Ooh have a wonderful time away. And a belated Happy Birthday to you. ;-)

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