NaNoWriMo Update – Research, Smesearch

Written by Richard Pulfer.  Originally posted on Blue Yonder.

Well, we’re more than halfway through National Novel Writing Month, and I have thirty thousand words. I’ve written so far ahead I took the last two days off and I’m still en route to finish by November 30th. Suffice to say things are going well, at least in terms of deadline.

I’ve also come to terms with the fact that this project is, more or less, written just for fun. I spoke to a couple of friends over the weekend who asked about the novel I finished in September. I told them I’m still working on it, but I think they were a little confused why I was already working on a second, completely different, novel. Here’s the one thing I’ve learned about my writing process: I am unable to not write. I have ideas swimming through my head at every hour of the night, even when I sleep. So when I take a break from a project, I really need to focus on another project if I’m going to have any kind of viable break from the first project. So as weird as it sounds to take a break from one novel by writing another, that’s just what works for me.

Since this is project is written mostly for fun, I will admit I haven’t done a great deal of research on it. And herein lies the problem – while I know more than a little on geek culture, I know next-to-nothing on football (despite watching a little of it over the weekend). So I figured what better form of research is there than the Internet. No I’m not talking about Google. I’m not talking about Wikipedia. I’m talking about YOU.

Here are some factual walls I’ve hit in the course of my narrative:

  1. At a key point of my story, two football players launch into a fistfight on the middle of the field. The refs are called into break them up. What such an infraction be called, and what would the penalty be for the instigator’s team?
  2. This one is tougher. I need the jersey number of Chicago Bears who used to be quite good (preferably in the late 80’s or early 90’s), but since then the jersey number has gone to a less talented player. I have absolutely no idea how jersey numbers are determined in football.
  3. And last but not least, I have a geek question. I have played table-top games a couple times, but I’ve never completely grasped the game mechanics (it’s all that math!) At one point, a character draws powers from dice throws. In a game like “Dungeons and Dragons” or “Pathfinders”, what are some of the dice rolls used to determine an action’s success or failure? I have the ever-popular “dexterity roll” and “strength roll”, but what else is there?

I’m hoping to really break into my novel this week, and quite possibly, get a headstart on wrapping it up for next week before Thanksgiving and the holiday rush starts to mount at work!

(That’s it for this rant. Check out a new Blue Yonder next week.)