Thursday, February 1, 2018

#Amwriting: Author filter systems are Wide Open by Rolynn Anderson

Whales, humpbacks, for example, are filter feeders.  An easy, efficient process if you think about it: open the mouth wide, swim, and snack.  Recognize the posture?  Once we’re into writing a new story, our author filter systems (our brains) glean relevant facts we can use for our characters, plots, and settings.  We pick up details from eavesdropping in Starbucks; snatch a piece of information out of the New York Times; during conversations with our friends or family, we jump onto tidbits of dialogue we could use in our books.  I present one sample…my new ‘Drone Filter.’


Drones.  FIRE IS NICE, the book I’m madly editing presently, has plot turns dependent on drones.  Of course I’ve done the research on drones (you can snap up one for $400, but the big ones used by the police run about 25 grand)  With my feeding filters open, lazily swimming through my days, I’ve been gathering factoids on drones, some
astonishing:
1.  The National Parks don’t allow them (usually) because they interfere with the park experience and upend our rights of privacy as citizens.  Drones are legal to use when ‘watching’ non-citizens, but since U.S. folk mix in visitors from other countries, drones have been a no-no in the Parks.
2.  Drones are now used by lifeguards to locate swimmers in trouble and throw life saving equipment to them.  Saw that in the New York Times.
3.  Homeland Security has a stable of drones they can’t use (a legal issue).  I have my character in FIRE IS NICE, borrow them.  Convenient, huh?
4.  My husband is on the board of our 50-home community council.  In rewriting the covenants, whether or not to allow drones in the neighborhood, has become an issue.  Do you want drones flying over your house?
5.  Drones are flying.  All over the place, I guess.  Not to be paranoid.  But.  They fly 15,000-60,000 feet above us and take pictures, constantly.  Where, we aren't sure.

I reiterate, authors are filter feeders when it comes to enriching our stories.  What are you learning a lot about lately because it’s important to your manuscript?
 
One focus when I wrote BAD LIES was caves on the Amalfi coast.  Want to fly with me to Italy and see some caves?  You can pretend you’ve got a chance to win a golf tournament helped by the caddy of your dreams.  Here’s BAD LIES http://a.co/0DuYNPn:

Italy’s haunted caves spell danger for an American golfer and a NATO geologist
***
Sophie Maxwell is a late-blooming, unorthodox golfer, and mother of a precocious thirteen year-old. Determined to put divorce, bankruptcy, and a penchant for gambling in her past, Sophie goes to Italy for a qualifying golf tournament.

Jack Walker turned his back on a pro golfing career to become a geologist. As a favor to his ailing father he’ll caddy for Sophie; off hours, he’ll find caves on the Mediterranean coast, suitable for NATO listening posts for terrorist activity.

Someone is determined to stop Jack’s underground hunt and ruin Sophie’s chances to win her tournament.

On a Rome golf course and in the Amalfi coast’s haunted caves, all the odds are stacked against Sophie and Jack.  In their gamble of a lifetime, who wins?


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30 comments:

Angela Adams said...

Whales are magnificent creatures! I could sit and watch them jump and swim all day! Thanks for the post.

Leah St. James said...

Great analogy, Rolynn. Here's a tidbit I picked up about drones.(We are thinking about getting drones at the news organization where I work, mostly to get photos and videos of locations we can't get to by vehicle or foot.) In preparation, our visuals staff had to go through special training and be certified. I believe you need a special FAA license to operate a drone, at least above a certain elevation. (Don't quote me on that! I don't recall the specifics, but I'm going to look it up!)

Mackenzie Crowne said...

Love the analogy, Rolynn. Lazily swimming through my days with my feeding filters open is one of my favorite parts of the writing process.

Brenda Whiteside said...

You are so right. Never thought of it like this. I've felt like a big fat whale a few times in my life, but that's a whole different story. I'm not too fond of drones because of the misuse and their ability to do evil. Good luck with the new ms.

Jannine Gallant said...

Interesting info about drones. I saw the swimming rescue story, too. I swear I get all my news off my phone these days. I should probably feed on assassin factoids since there's one in my current WIP. Not too many eavesdroppable conversations on that topic in Starbucks!

Rolynn Anderson said...

You're welcome, Angela. We've boated with the humpies up in B.C. and Alaska. I can watch them cavort for hours!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Leah, thanks for the heads-up on the high-up drones. I was thinking about the lower-flying ones for my plot...but the canopy in the forest presents a problem for the machines...hard to 'watch' when the tops of the Giant Sequoias are in the way :-)

RE Mullins said...

Interesting analogy. I love researching things for my books too.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Right, Mac. Emphasis on the lazy. The big humpies get a trip to Hawaii every year, so I aim to parallel their lives in that respect as well!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Brenda, the whole drone (unmanned) weaponry and surveillance thing gives me the willies, too. War would end if we had to face the enemy one-on-one, no weapons allowed. Remote killing...horrific!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Jannine, in the case of an assassin, you're right, the eavesdropping opportunities are slim. But remember my seat partner in the plane returning from Mazatlan was a cartel guy, third generation, who had to change his name to avoid the cartel biz. So there. This filter feeder got info about assassins-El Chapo- and more...on a plane to Phoenix! And he lives in my town...here in Arroyo Grande!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Thanks, R.E. It's a scavenger hunt, half the time...the other half, stuff just comes our way...love it!

Rolynn Anderson said...

It's seven a.m. here in sunny CA. I'm off to play in a golf tournament. I'll be back to comment this afternoon. FORE!

Mary Anne Landers said...

Thanks, Rolynn. For my current novel I'm learning about swordfighting, low-tech sailing, and harps. Almost all of it on the Internet, of course.

Good luck!

Betsy Ashton said...

I'm glad we writers aren't bottom feeders. I prefer swimming and straining the water to grubbing in the muck. Great post.

Alicia Dean said...

Excellent analogy. That should be helpful as I'm gobbling up info. Your facts are fascinating. I've always been intrigued by drones anyway. For me, right now, I'm researching two books (i research while writing), and one is set in the 40's so I'm having to familiarize myself with the times and the type of crime investigations they did back then. My other is a contemporary crime novel, so I'm researching police work for accuracy. I'm reading Bad Lies and loving it!

Margo Hoornstra said...

That is a great analogy. Loved the bottom feeders comment as well. The best part of our Alaska cruise was whale watching from a small boat. Our captain was very clear we only observe, not interfere. Especially with a mama and two young. So beautiful. My current wip has a legal process coming up. My heroine is a lawyer. Sort of research of the dry and uninspiring kind, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Alison Henderson said...

The last time I took my beach walk, there was a young couple with a drone. The man was holding it and looking a bit put out, so I think he might have been experiencing technical difficulties. Good. I'd had to have that natural beauty disturbed by drones.

As for filtering, I seem to be more of a visual image feeder. I pick up bits of information when I need them, but I'm always observing my surroundings and the people in them.

Andrea Downing said...

Good analogy, Rolynn-I'm constantly filtering. As for drones, I believe they should be licensed and --actually I feel they should be banned from private use. Our airports have had problems with morons flying drones. They really are an invasion of privacy and danger.

Vonnie Davis said...

In my research on drones, I found they can be as small as a flying insect or a bird, depending on the equipment they carry: cameras, GPS, facial recognition, poisonous gas, etc. These are types governments and criminals use to find and kill.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Mary Ann, how could you be more eclectic. I love the breath of knowledge our books give us!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Ack! I hate the bottom feeder image...but all animals have a life to live...and bottom food may be wonderful for them!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Alicia I love your filter areas! And thanks so much for your kind comments on BAD LIES!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Eek! The legal process. Back to the whales. Once when we were on anchor in Alaska, a mother whale taught her baby how to bubble feed, right next to our boat. I felt the world stand still!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Andi, I share your worries. Not that I have anything interesting or secretive to hide, but what about others who need more privacy. My theory...I've said before, is that human brains don't have the capacity to manage high tech...worries me!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Vonnie, you are so right. Drones are small and lethal. I don't relish the politics involved in trying to control them!

Diane Burton said...

Enjoyed your post, Rolynn. With each book, I learn more than I ever wanted/needed to know about different subjects. Sometimes, I let research take over. Bad, bad, bad. LOL As for drones, I'd rather not have the buzzing over my house/neighborhood. Nuisance. Although one of our neighbors used his to take a fantastic aerial shot of our neighborhood for our FB page. Nice. The issues of privacy and what criminals can do with drones is scary.

Alicia Dean said...

Wooohooo...congrats....yay!!!! As for what to do now, you've done quite a bit, so yes, just take a breather and see what happens. In a week or so, other than the social media stuff you talked about, maybe do something promo'ish. Maybe show a pic of your book on the shelves and talk about what a thrill it is to see it there, tell about how long you've dreamed of it, etc. Maybe share a little background about the book. I would do this either on your FB page or on a blog post (I'll host you if you'd like), and we'll share the sh*@ out of it. :) Other than that, enjoy and keep writing and just do your normal promo stuff. Happy for you!! (Mine is awaiting me on my Kindle, or at least is should be...better check!)

Hey, maybe I'll take a pick of me with your book at a local bookstore to share on the blog, if you're interested in being my guest. You could make it a 10 Moments that Changed my life post, if you want.

Alicia Dean said...

Ooohhh, yes, let's do it. And I can share how we first met. Maybe I can dig out your query email. :)

Alicia Dean said...

I didn't find it. The oldest email I found was when I sent something to you about the release date. Shoot! ;) Do you remember the original title? I found a note about that.