Now, that I have showed you my new study, I feel obliged to tell you a little about my next writing project.
I'm counting on writing a book.
According to Wikepedia a book is "a set of written, printed, illustrated, or blank sheets, made of ink, paper, parchment, or other materials, usually fastened together to hinge at one side". I just thought I need to explain this, because there might be people out here, on the internet, who wouldn't know what a proper book is.
Of course, the book in itself is only the final product of this voyage I am embarking on. It is the tangible outcome. Constructing the narrative and forming a relatively plausible story, the plot, the characterization, the language, is the actual labor. Some would call this a mental task. I disagree. It is in fact a very physical task. Because if a writer wants his story to be credible, he has to do a considerable amount of fieldwork.
I am, of course, talking about research.
The story I have in mind at the moment - the idea spawned about four years ago - has to be thoroughly researched. I want it to be as realistic as possible. It involves international politics, and it's contemporary, which demands that most facts have to be actual facts to avoid implausibility. Crime ficition, thriller style, inspired by authors like Tom Clancy and Robert Lundlum (just to name two), but written in Danish and with Denmark as 'starting point'.
I'm planning a series of books. The protagonist is a retired colonel, veteran of the Danish armed forces. He is 71 years old when the story starts, and this is the twist I give an otherwise traditional bestseller-setup. Even though the main character is a very old man, there will be lots of action, because The Colonel is an extremely healthy gentleman, if you know what I mean. The first book revolves around the developing of new technologies and industrial espionage which also means lots of research.
There's also a very big East-African diamond somewhere in the game...
So, I am in the research phase right now. I'm reading a little about this, here and there on internet sites, and a little bit about that, here and there in old newspapers. I have a ring binder half full with newspaper clippings and prints about the subjects, covering areas such as charitable foundations, East African civil wars, the development of scientific machinery for warfare and The United Nations Social Policy and Development Division, among others.
Next step is to find a good librarian.
Librarians are a source of gold to any writer. I know that from my time as a journalist. There are no limits as to what a good librarian can dig up for you. This is their job, you know. To find the precise books you need to gain knowledge on that specific thing you urge to know about. It's what they do. Very few people appreciate this in our modern World. They rely on the internet and their own judgement instead. Big mistake. No ordinary internet user can make a proper assessment of any online info.
That is why we have librarians.
When I have found out as much as I can find out via conventional research, I will handpick some real life people and arrange interviews with them.
Of course, I have to write in between the research.
Not because I am on a contract or anything, but because I simply just GOTTA. This is the only way for me to form the characters. I have to meet them and get to know them, like if I had met them in real life. I do this by simply writing about them. Not passages that I will use in the novel, but independent pieces of fiction. It can be an afternoon in Person X' childhood, a night in the pub for Person Y, the last day and night of Person Z, and so on. Just to get to know them.
This far, I have only written about the main character, and I am beginning to like The Colonel. He's in charge, if you know what I mean. However, I can not tell you more about him. You see, he is sort of old fashioned in the area of privacy. This social networking internet community weblog thing is not something he considers appropriate... though it has it's advantages... if you need to know secrets about people...
More about this later.
I have to get back to The Colonel now. This charity foundation, he recently became ambassador for, just equipped him with one of those new fancy "smartphones". It seems all Foundation collaborators get a unit for free. Sponsored by some big multinational conglomerate company somewhere in Asia. Much to his surprise it already has the personal data of most of his contacts in its memory, including old contacts that have nothing to do with his current arrangements: old schoolmates, brothers in arms, even old lovers he haven't talked to for decades. He wonders how the hell The Foundation knows about those...
I can't leave him sitting there, can I? Have to help him out.
PS: I will not bring excerpts of the actual story. I will be writing in Danish, and proper translating demands training which I haven't. You will have to wait till the book gets translated, which I'm sure it will, because it will, of course, be the bestseller to end all bestsellers. Obviously...
I will be posting about the process, though, and you will get to know things about the plot, the characters, the locations and all that.
So, please don't give me a song and dance about how much you'd like to read some of it, okay?