Do y'all do this?

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Watcher55
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Do y'all do this?

Post by Watcher55 » December 18th, 2010, 11:47 am

There's this guy, in my story, and he's making a fist around a votive cup and he can't let go. So as I'm telling the story I got this votive cup in my other hand and I'm trying to close my fist around it.

Do y'all research sensation and other minutiae by doing seemingly silly things like running your hand across the face of a building or breaking the ice with your foot just to find out what it feels like to be thigh deep in a frozen over creek?

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Re: Do y'all do this?

Post by Fenris » December 18th, 2010, 12:02 pm

Yes, but not always. For example, since my MC uses swords, I practiced swordplay for a while so I could feel more confident about describing the motions he might take. Typically I can remember certain sensations well enough that I don't have to go out and do them again to be able to describe them, but there's always the odd one out that I have to go out and do just so I can know I'm describing it right.
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Re: Do y'all do this?

Post by Guardian » December 18th, 2010, 12:18 pm

Yes. Sometimes. In these cases I use music and I try to imagine the moves, or even play them following the rhythm. But for most action scenes I used to make very basic 3D CGI animations to see is it possible to make every action, motion, event in that setting and situation. They're providing a great help to visualize everything, then describe them (This is one of the reasons why the descriptions are that detailed, sometimes too detailed in my WIP. Fenris knows what about I'm talking. :) There the best example is the "Anshara" (Fenris knows what that thing is.). That one has a beautifully rendered CGI test animation and based on that, I written a very detailed description, which is showing the very same take off sequence in the novel.).

The other version to help my work is to create the planned dialogues with text to speech software, cut them under the appropriate music track, along with some effects and listen how they would sound in the situation (So a brief audio tale book, which is able to tell me, is the planned dialogue would suck or would sound good.).

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Re: Do y'all do this?

Post by Watcher55 » December 18th, 2010, 12:31 pm

Guardian wrote:Yes. Sometimes. In these cases I use music and I try to imagine the moves, or even play them following the rhythm. But for most action scenes I used to make very basic 3D CGI animations to see is it possible to make every action, motion, event in that setting and situation. They're providing a great help to visualize everything, then describe them (This is one of the reasons why the descriptions are that detailed, sometimes too detailed in my WIP. Fenris knows what about I'm talking. :) There the best example is the "Anshara" (Fenris knows what that thing is.). That one has a beautifully rendered CGI test animation and based on that, I written a very detailed description, which is showing the very same take off sequence in the novel.).

The other version to help my work is to create the planned dialogues with text to speech software, cut them under the appropriate music track, along with some effects and listen how they would sound in the situation (So a brief audio tale book, which is able to tell me, is the planned dialogue would suck or would sound good.).
Daaang! I often wish my head could remember, much less use, all the fiddly buttons and blinkedy lights well enough to render even a simple action.

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Re: Do y'all do this?

Post by Sommer Leigh » December 18th, 2010, 1:03 pm

Yes I do this sort of thing a lot. I dragged my BFF into the wilds of Indiana's national forest to hike through one of the canyony areas. The video we took is hysterical because I'm walking behind her and I'm noting that the only things in my pack are a video camera, a notebook and pens, Dasani water bottles, and pringles and that we are clearly not suited to hiking. But I needed to know how it would feel and what it would be like to try and escape through these woods if one were being chased by monsters.

While no zombies showed up to give me a good representation of the experience, we did get found by a small group of red neck boys who wanted to scare us. And they did. And we ran out of the ravine and I climbed a wall of rocks to get back to my car as fast as possible so the simulation was almost real.

I have climbed into the trunk of a car before to see what it felt like because of a scene I was writing.
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Re: Do y'all do this?

Post by polymath » December 18th, 2010, 2:46 pm

So there's this well-known anthropologist I've studied (and met) who writes, researches, and so on about the period I have for projects in progress. The anthropologist says in several books and on documentary film appearances that the people under study made pottery with round bottoms so they would sit steady in a cooking fire.

Okay. I'm a potter, wheel, hand built pinch, slab, coil, press mold, slip cast, and fired every kind of kiln, modern, traditional, primitive. I go out to clay sites known to be used by the people, dig clay, process clay according to how it was done, aged the clay and all that, made traditional shapes, conventional shapes, round bottom, flat bottom, and fire several test pots in a clamp kiln. A hole dug in the ground, and the greenware set upside down in the hole, slow fire at first, ramped up over twelve hours to a blaze, and the kilnware buried in a deep pile of coals, covered over, capped, and set to smoulder for another half day.

The pots come out fully kilned to earthenware after another day of cooling. The flat bottomed pots had fatal cracks in the bottoms. The round bottom pots were as sound as a bell. I repeated the experiment with a controlled fire electric kiln. Same results. I screened the clay to remove impurities, shell sands, calcium carbonate, and repeated the process. Finally, flat bottom pots without cracks.

I built a cooking fire on the ground and tried boiling water in flat and round bottom pots. Raked coals out of the fire into a deep, flat layer and set the pots beside the coals to gently temper them to the fire, then raked coals around the pots. The flat bottom pots were stable without a second thought, the round bottom ones had to be carefully tended to keep them stable, one of the flat bottomed pots cracked.

Conclusions, no, the people didn't make round bottom pots because they sit stable in a cooking fire. They made them round so heat stresses didn't crack the pots. Other primitive cultures probably had similar shapes for similar reasons. Phoenician amphoras, for example.

I've reenacted many of the lifeway practices of the people and studied the works of others who have too. I've found many misconceptions. Anthropologists' and archeologists' cultural biases invariably reinvent unlikely scenarios.

One area of credibility I have with reinterpreting the past is how people traveled back when, say the medieval era. People didn't travel much. There were no inns, taverns, public houses, hotels or motels, or much in the way of hospitality and tourism services. The common people didn't have the leisure or money for room and board on the road. There wasn't much point in operating a business that might see a client once or twice every few years. No overnight places for an itinerant knight errant who might have some coin to rest his weary horse, quaff mead, and lay wenches. Not much coin to speak of in the first place until near the beginning of the colonial era and even then coin was closely hoarded and highly prized.

What little hospitality there was to be found was arranged well in advance by spotty correspondence. The mails were terrible. And what little hospitality there was was found at manor castles and abbeys dotting the land. A welcomed traveler and his retinue were accorded fare, table, and room at the manor castles according to their stations. An unwelcome, univited, traveler without letters of introduction was turned away. At the abbeys a strange or known traveler could expect a paucity of hospitality little better than and usually much worse than what the monks endured. Though high born travelers could expect to enjoy a reasonable repast as guests of the abbot at his sumptious table, the rest of the retinue did not.

Don't get me started on waterborne travel.
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Re: Do y'all do this?

Post by Watcher55 » December 19th, 2010, 9:35 am

Polymath - That's a pretty piece of HIstorical investigation - Congrats. When I was new to research I fell into the trap of accepting the conclusions of archeology, but that was my fault because, IMO archeology can only provide artifacts that educate a much broader range of dynamics.

I've been keeping my eye out for plans to build a Roman water clock and a sundial similar to the one in (What a bonehead) OUTSIDE the temple of Apollo and Diana in Pompeii for a Work in Waiting (Time and time travel are central motiffs).

Image

Image

I took these pics one afternoon in Aug at 1:30 PM.

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Re: Do y'all do this?

Post by dios4vida » December 19th, 2010, 1:16 pm

Absolutely! I've stripped and oiled branches from our trees so that I would know what it's like - I even took an old piece of wood and smoothed/oiled it with rags (no sandpaper) so that I could describe how my MC made his own staff. It's by no means quality work or anywhere near a working bo, but it gave me the sensory details (and enough splinters) to make the writing believable.

I've done a lot of things like that over the years, but that is my most "impressive" (read: crazy) example. Personally, I think it's a great exercise in putting yourself in your character's shoes. I'm actually looking forward to the next time I can do something weird like that!
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Re: Do y'all do this?

Post by Louise Curtis » December 19th, 2010, 4:35 pm

I once went on a tour of limestone caves in New Zealand, and when we got to a point where we were allowed to touch the walls I asked and received permission to also lick them.

Since I was travelling alone, that was a peculiar moment.
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Re: Do y'all do this?

Post by J. T. SHEA » December 19th, 2010, 4:58 pm

Sommer, zombies fear Pringles. Red neck boys don't, it seems.

Great sundial pics, Watcher55! But I think it's three minutes fast.

Louise, I lick the walls wherever I go, and never ask permission. Igloos can pose problems.

I've also had problems doing hands-on research for my WIP. I can't find any flying cars. All present day airships and flying boats are too small. Shipping companies won't let me blow up one of their oil tankers, or run a cruise liner into an iceberg. So I just have to make it up as I go along. Damn!

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Re: Do y'all do this?

Post by Fenris » December 19th, 2010, 8:38 pm

J. T. SHEA wrote:I've also had problems doing hands-on research for my WIP. I can't find any flying cars. All present day airships and flying boats are too small. Shipping companies won't let me blow up one of their oil tankers, or run a cruise liner into an iceberg. So I just have to make it up as I go along. Damn!
But at least that means not many people will be able to tell you you're wrong.
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Re: Do y'all do this?

Post by Watcher55 » December 19th, 2010, 8:43 pm

J. T. SHEA wrote:Great sundial pics, Watcher55! But I think it's three minutes fast.
Thanks

In Apollo's defence, I bought the watch at Wal-Mart for $35 (yes, I really am goofy enough to check my watch before taking a pic of a sundial).

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Re: Do y'all do this?

Post by ljkuhnley » December 20th, 2010, 2:54 pm

I rode a roller coaster as research to see what it might feel like to be a dragon doing a nose dive.

Another time I propped half a ping-pong table up against my couch to simulate sliding down a roof. (In retrospect a shed might have been more realistic).

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Re: Do y'all do this?

Post by Louise Curtis » December 20th, 2010, 5:26 pm

[quote="J. T. SHEA"]

I lick the walls wherever I go[quote]

Thanks for making me laugh. It just sounded so much like a signature.
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Re: Do y'all do this?

Post by sierramcconnell » December 21st, 2010, 1:59 pm

I do a lot of crazy things just to get into my characters' heads.

Thankfully, I haven't resorted to killing or maiming anyone yet, but suffering, yes. Because they do suffer. I think a lot of blood\sweat\tears goes into it.

I'm trying to think of something...I ate white yogurt pretzels once because Rehael swore he loved them. I had a beta tell me they didn't exist. I had to point them to the Harry and David box I was still using as joke bookends to prove them wrong. Yes, they do exist. No, they're not half-bad.
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