Monday, April 14, 2014


Verisimilitude, by Duncan McGeary


Nice word.

The thing I most want to add to The Dead Spend No Gold right now, is some telling and/or historical detail.  (This is the sequel I'm writing to Led to the Slaughter, Books of the Dead Press.)

I went out into the woods yesterday, broke off from the trail and just headed overland, found a nice spot and sat down with my notebook.

Two hours later, I had four pages of notes from just sitting there.  Two more pages of notes walking back to my car.  I passed some horses in a pasture, and wrote down some notes about horses. I have characters riding horses throughout the story, but barely mention them. So I need to bring the sight, smell and sounds of a trail ride into the story.

For instance:  I went on trail rides as a kid and I remember a lot of the details of long rides, the vinegar smell of horse sweat and leather, the lather and the foam around their mouths, the constantly swishing tails, the eyes that seem both fearful and rebellious at the same time, the curling of their hide to throw off the horseflies.

In other words, just little details to add to the story, make it seem real.

This summer I'll do some hikes in the mountains to get some of the details of a higher elevation.

And I'll also read some western histories and non-fiction books for historical detail.

I have the advantage of actually living in Central Oregon where I can go to places much like what I'm describing.  I have the mountains, the forests, the lakes and rivers, and the deserts all within a few minutes of my house.

When I wrote Star Axe, I had a quest journey that described going over a pass and entering a new climate.  I used the Mt. Hood pass over the Cascade Mountains for details.  There is nothing like actually being there to find those little descriptive details. 

In a way, the first draft comes out  of my head.  But to firm it up, make it grounded in reality, I need realistic details.

It grounds the flights of fantasies and firms them up into something that at least feels like it could happen. 

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