Friday, December 24, 2010


Many moons ago, I started writing a novel in which the owners of a big box store chain plotted and succeeded in taking over the world. It all started when, of course, i visited a big box store and noted -- along with the hundreds of others in the store -- that it was remarkably similar in many respects to the same big box stores they had in their own home towns. Building a novel around that novel concept seems pretty pedestrian, but once and a while I pull out the old manuscript and think, yeah, this has still got legs. It's certainly on my list of things to finish before my life ends.

Had a chance to do some research on that front today, as we visited a big box store many miles from our home town. As I surmised many, many years ago, it bears remarkable similarities to the familiar box at home. But there are those subtle differences (definitely color scheme) that make it stand out on its own. Other big differences of note include that they use another language in the signage at the store as well as English, with folks who don't necessarily have English as their native tongue as the checkers and the majority of the shoppers. I'm not pointing this out because I'm racist in any way, but simply because it is a difference. I'm sure they'd notice a difference were they suddenly transplanted into the big box I've got near home.

So it was fun to wander today, listening and soaking it all in. It's given me some good ideas to incorporate into the novel, and, hopefully, an additional impetus to get that novel done.

Research, I'm finding out, is as much fun as writing the novel. It differs from inspiration in that inspiration comes in a flash, lasting a few seconds or a few minutes. The research, on the other hand, is much more slow, but helps you build and build and build. That's certainly the direction that Tolkein took in writing his novels, and I hope, in my own humble way, to emulate his methods.

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