My mind, I find, isn't as flexible as it used to be. Once I had the goal of completing the essay finished, I set down to write my novel, result: brain dead. It's actually quite like being on a roller coaster or time machine, you start thinking and look up and say, where am I? China? Ireland? Florida? Back in history?
My first step has been to isolate some of the specific places used in the story and collect specific place data. Some of the data affects only one scene, a few, two or more. I finished a new first scene, it's a bit more blunt and maybe a turn off, than I wish it to be.
So where do I get my information about how people dress, what is modern, and what current events are trending in China?
This photographs shows a number of things about China:
- here is a family on vacation, probably Chinese rather than foreign, taking pictures of something their child liked. It's not the best photograph, but the clothing, the interests, the mobility, etc. of locals in China is well portrayed.
I also use a variety of resources starting with a tour book that is usually good for maps, city names, road and rail and boat routes and general local information.
Following from there, I can do a search on a specific area, for plants, businesses, news, photographs, products, anything I might find useful for the scene I have in mind.
I've also read a few stories from Grace Paley's "Enormous Changes at the Last Minute", "Judas Kiss" by David Butler, and a few stories from Mary Costello's "China Factory", In poetry I've read "A Gather of Shadows" by Mark Roper and "State of the Prisons" by Sinead Morrissey.