Week twelve: research

The excellent Tony Broadbent, whose books I adore (surely Jethro the cat burglar and Mary Russell met, sometime?) asks, what is the proper collective noun for a set of Russells? A hive? A buzz? A sting? He nominates honey-pot—and please note: pot, not bucket.

The lady in question has posted a Myspace blog today, for week 12 of our fast-departing Fifteen Weeks of Bees, which finds things heating up in Oxford town for the world’s greatest detective, and her husband.

And this week’s contest is on YouTube, which is very lonely.

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One of the purposes of this blog has been to allow me to talk about the writing process while it’s actually going on. I’m not a writer who likes someone looking over her shoulder (although I did that, more or less literally, with my writer’s improv, and may do so again for BoucherCon 2010.) I do not ask for feedback while the material is still being shaped, from family, friends, or a writers’ group. However, there are times when it’s valuable to me, and I assume of interest to some of you, to step back and think aloud about the process.

One question that often comes up, particularly regarding the historical novels, is research. And I think the question comes not because the person asking it is considering writing their own historical novel, but because they are interested in how one assembles the raw material and, more mysterious yet, how one carves it into a narrative.

In the interest of providing you with the material to craft your own version of The Language of Bees, we’ve posted links on the book page to a whole bunch of the material that went into the story. Cruise through, taste and sample the page on Norse Gods, study the pictures of the Stones of Stenness, wonder at the life and times of Aleister Crowley. Then, when you’ve finished, let me know what you think The Language of Bees is going to be about.

(This is not, by the way, for those of you who’ve already read an ARC…)

Comments

  1. Laidee Marjorie says:

    Laurie,

    Not being nearly clever enough to figure out what LANG is about in advance, I will say that I am thrilled that there seems to be a strong connection to art and artists apparently included this time. I love art and I appreciate it when you include references (such as in MOOR where Russell is talking to Miss Baskerville and there is mention of the family portraits being done by Reynolds for one generation and by Sargent for another). And I was thrilled to have seen the Victorian fairy paintings exhibit in the basement of the Frick museum about ten years ago and I wonder if any of those paintings make an appearance.

    And in only nine days the book will be in my hand at your New York appearance, and after you (hopefully) sign it for me, I will happily dive in and see where you imagination has taken you this time.

    –Marjorie

  2. Hmm. I’ve heard honeypot used in two ways. The first deals with computers. The second… Well, you can do a Google books search for the word, using Diana Gabaldon as the author. _I_ wouldn’t use honeypot, but the rest of you can do what you want. 😉

  3. strawberry curls says:

    I have only recently heard the term honey-pot in conjunction with computers, but the other connotation, the one you seem to be implying, Nikki, never occurred to me. Be that as it may, I think the term hive as a collective noun for a set of Russells is quite nice. Just my humble opinion, of course.

    Off to read about the Café Royal. I find I have a personal interest in that location. 🙂

  4. Alice,

    It never occurred to me, either. It is an old use of the word; used in that context by a man born in the 1720s. I doubt anyone else (other than maybe Zoe because she reads) would think anything about it.

    But, yes, I like hive. Reminds me of a certain website…. 😉

  5. Ooops. That should have said reads Diana Gabaldon

  6. I was thinking about how in Surrealist/Dada parties (can you imagine THAT scene?) they used to play a game perfectly appropriate for mystery writers: “Exquisite Corpse.”

    It was designed to be like a group effort, but you work blindly. You start with a word/drawing, then cover up what you did and pass it to the next person. They add a word/drawing not knowing what the previous person did, and so on. )The name came from one of the first experiments, where two people put “exquisite” and “corpse” one after another.) The end results are often strange, but much to the Surrealists’ delight, they are unique to that time and space, never to be duplicated. Original art, for those searching for what has never been done (or hadn’t, at the time).

    I really want THAT to be in LANG somewhere….fulfills my artist-nerdery. Maybe in “The Green Man.”

    I like research. 😀

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