I'm researching, honest!

I just had a breakthrough. I realized why I’m stuck in my current WIP. I had all this research about the Tang capital of Changan, but once I left the city, the geography becomes vague. As a result, two of my books became plagued with what I’ll call “stuck in the forest” syndrome.  The characters travel through nebulous trees and mountains and rivers until they emerge in the inhabited world.

I’ll blame the wuxia trope for part of it. A huge component of those stories were travel. Technically, the fictional world where all those stories take place is Jianghu which simply means “rivers and lakes”. If you think of Tolkien’s Middle Earth as the characters traipse through Hobbiton and all the surrounding lands on their way to Mordor, that’s sort of what Jianghu is. And, with all due respect, Tolkien had a bit of “stuck in the forest” syndrome too. 🙂

So early on as a writer, I was criticized for becoming bogged down in description. As a result, I started glossing over details to skip to external action. But then, I was always given a lot of positive feedback for description.  I think I learned something in the course of writing the subsequent books. I learned how to move my characters through Jianghu, through places and settings that were important.  But now I’m back here, back at Book #1 and I realize I’ve got to get these characters out of the forest because Jianghu has more interesting adventures to offer them.

So I’m researching, honest! And not ummm…wasting time on the Internet when I should be writing.

Here’s a quick tour through some ancient sites. It’s amazing what they do with digital animation. *sigh*


No Comments

  1. Victoria Dixon
    Oct 24, 2009 @ 20:16:34

    That is so cool I had to share it with my husband. He’s a computer graphics artist/hobbyist. Did you surf youtube to find that, or did you go to their corporate website?

  2. Dara
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 16:18:19

    Ok, that was seriously the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time. 🙂

    And the city of ChangAn during the Tang–that place was huge! I suppose I never really knew that these cities were really that big!

  3. Jeannie Lin
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 21:12:45

    Victoria – I found it on YouTube and then, of course, got stuck in one of those YouTube loops when you keep on clinking the related links and watching videos.

    Dara – Isn’t it amazing the scope of it? They say Chang’an was greater than Rome at it’s height. In an early scene in my WIP, I tried to describe it. A couple readers in my critique group mentioned that they thought the men should be on horses as they travelled across the city. Now that I think of it, horses would definitely be needed if I wanted them to get across that city without having to stop several times.

  4. Dara
    Oct 26, 2009 @ 10:20:21

    If it’s anything like what that 3D animation shows, it certainly looks much grander than Rome at its height.

    I also find it interesting how both sides of the world–China and Europe–hardly had any contact with one another. I know it’s because of the vast expanse of harsh territory between the two but it’s always fascinating to see how both sides progressed differently–like the relatively primitive Dark Ages in Europe and the cultured Tang dynasty in China.