Why 2K?


Ah yes, this is much more reasonable. Finally back to my 2,000 words/day-schedule, and compared to my 3k/day marathon last week (courtesy of a slacker weekend the week before), it’s almost nothing — almost fun.

The research is plugging along as well — a good thing, since this monster is much more research-intensive than I had anticipated. It’s become almost thesis-like in its workload, which of course I don’t mind, seeing as I love digging around and unearthing all this information. I wouldn’t have survived graduate school had I been less than enthusiastic about spending hours in the library. (Although, come to think of it, USC’s library was not an especially welcome place for students seeking to do mountains of research. It was designed to evoke the Kennedy Center in D.C., but because it required a lot of space to house all those books, the original architect apparently decided that in order to maintain the integrity of the facade, the rest of the building would have to be built underground. Five whole floors of it.

That meant that, no matter what time of year you went into the “dungeon,” you would always need a sweater. And maybe some kind of portable source of artificial sunlight, just in case you have an attack of Seasonal Affective Disorder. In June.

Rumor had it that someone had been raped in one of the stacks on the 1st or 2nd (the lowest two levels) floor, which surprised none of us, given the remoteness of the area and the paucity of students willing to spend any significant amount of time there. All graduate students were given their own study carrels, which we could lock up and store things in, but very rarely did any of us use ours. Too creepy and cold.)

Anyhoo, I digress…

As I was saying, the research is going well, and I’ve discovered more books and materials I’ll need to get through ILL. (That’s Interlibrary Loan to you library novices. 😉 I also ordered a video last night from a Canadian TV studio that produced a doc featuring a Scottish pharmacist who was in Singapore at the time of the Japanese invasion. Should provide some good history on the medical establishment in place at the time of the Pacific War’s outbreak.


A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing…Not to Mention a Big Time-Sucker


Important writing tip: research is critical. Time-consuming. Fascinating. And did I mention that it’s critical?

Did you know that the Japanese Zero was a very cool, sleek plane? Neither did I. I just imagined a shadowy fighter jet with a big red sun splashed somewhere on the body and toting along a little (but fiercely determined!) Japanese airman. Had no clue that the plane was actually a very nimble, very powerful threat against Allied air and sea power in the Pacific.

Yes, I realize that that’s not exactly news to anyone remotely interested in World War II aviation, but it’s just one more piece of absolutely enthralling information as I conduct research alongside my writing.

It’s tough, doing the writing simultaneously with the research. What I’m basically doing is writing the bones of the story, much like a script, with bits of sinew and a touch of fat thrown here and there gleaned from the research. I’m afraid that if I do all the research first, I’ll never actually write. (An incredibly common phenomenon among writers that does nothing to cure writers’ block.)

Of course, the Pacific War is such a massive, complex event that even narrowing it down to the events on the Malayan peninsula is still a daunting exercise. Plus, I’m anxious to include as much detail as possible to add to the “authenticity” of the story, and that involves plenty of digging digging digging.

Anyhoo, now that the bloody war is in full swing (the Japanese have now invaded Malaya, which of course is the beginning of the end for Singapore as far as the war is concerned), the need for detail has exploded as I now need to keep track of Japanese and British military movements across the peninsula, dates, war materiel, installations, personnel numbers, casualty statistics, not to mention strategies and policies being issued from London. Thank God I enjoy this stuff, but it sure does slow down the writing.