27 November 2006

Reality trips up the fantasy novel.

I was wanting to chase my tribe of raccoons out of the forest where they've lived for ages. Initially I had loggers coming in and clearing out the white oaks, but that made the raccoon's leaving too slow. Then I thought, a big fire would get them right out of the forest and I won't have all these slow chapters. But how many class C fires do we have in the local forests? None. If there's a fire, it just creeps along the leaves on the forest floor and smolders a lot.

Also, when I take a cursory look at literature online about Missouri forest fires, even the larger fires won't kill off most mature white oaks (which is what I need to do to chase the raccoons out). Not to mention that most of the forest fire literature pertains to the forests in the Ozarks, which are massive and also have more pines, which burn better than your decidious hardwoods.

I could just whip up a fire like the ones they have in the west, but then that wouldn't be true to what I'm trying to do -- write a book that uses natural history responsibly. If I put the fire in, then I'd have to mess up the whole ecosystem by adding plants that are more fire-prone but simply don't exist in the area, then adjust the ecosystem accordingly .... That's just a headache I don't need.

Even when writing fantasy, I have to keep it true to life.

I'll just have to figure out a different way to keep those early chapters moving.

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