Well, okay, I guess technically there is another possibility. I mean, you can always push boldly onward, making up facts and faking the details. That's a viable approach, I guess, if you don't mind the fact that pretty much anything you write that way is going to suck. Mightily. But let's face it: if you don't care about the quality of your writing, you probably aren't bothering to read anyone else's thoughts on the writing process, including mine. So I can safely ignore you as a potential reading audience, can't I?
Right, then. Moving on... Research. Yes. Lots and lots of research. In fact, I occasionally suspect that this part of the writing process is expressly designed to prevent you from spending any of your time actually writing. For example... well, let's take a look at my current project.
In theory, I've been working on this project for a couple of months. (That's a vast improvement over the rest of my projects; some of those have been percolating for over a decade.) In the course of that couple of months, I have written just over a page of story - which I'm probably going to scrap, but let's save that for a different rant about the writing process. Meanwhile, in an effort not to sound like a complete idiot when I start writing about the east coast and post-apocalyptic life at sea, I have learned the following:
- I could purchase a nice, used sailing yacht for around $80,000. That's assuming, of course, that I could scrape together $80,000 - and that my beautiful wife wouldn't murder me in my sleep for trying something like that.
- It's entirely possible to raise chickens in the back yard, local ordinances permitting, which means that given the right sort of boat and a reasonable logistic situation, it can probably be done on a boat as well.
- I have no desire to raise chickens... anywhere... ever.
- Dehydration is a very, very nasty thing.
- Buxton, North Carolina looks like a nice place. It's on a little island on the Outer Banks, and has the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse nearby. The town is composed mainly of wooden houses, with a few brick structures here and there, and quite a lot of beach along the seaward side of the island. It's really a pity that I'm only learning this so I can better destroy the place...