Day 66. 188 pages, 93,240 words.
Bit busy right now and have not got much time, but I thought you might be interested in seeing some of the cool stuff I learned while researching these books I am writing.
I don’t normally go in for research. Usually, if something is going into a book I’m writing, it’s going to be something I just made up and doesn’t really need any sort of basis in reality. I’m not writing non-fiction here.
But increasingly, I have found that a bit of research, at least into the facts and figures of things that are supposed to seem real or this-universe supported, goes a long way. And so I did a bit of reading up about some stuff, just to add verysillymillytude to the whole thing. I’m not exactly researching quantum mechanics of faster-than-light travel or time dilation or the geology of exoplanets here, but there’s a bit of research going in.
Also, I started to research some of the slang I was using, in an attempt to bring my own cultural and linguistic lexicon into a distant-future time and throw in a few nods to the present day. It was also important to know that my slang is technically correct and understandable – any fault in the reader ‘not knowing what that words means’ is just that. The reader’s little problem to go and correct, if he or she wants to.
I’m not saying “you’re dumb and need to learn what my words mean”. I’m just saying that “I hope, if a word stymies you or arouses your curiosity, you’ll want to go and check it out for yourself.” That is the sort of reader we all want to be, isn’t it? And this is my way of telling you “okay, if it looks like there are words that are wrong, I’m not putting them there to mislead you. They really do have etymology and stuff.”
Although don’t get me wrong – a lot of the alien words? I’m making those up, because they’re alien. You can generally tell those ones, though.
I learned, for example, that the Australian slang term sandboondie, meaning a compacted lump of sand, came from the Aboriginal word boondie which basically meant exactly the same thing (the sand was implied). This was a word I had used since childhood and it was brilliant to realise that it had such an origin. So cool. In your face, people who think the white man is destroying Aboriginal culture. We adopted this one word.
Oh, and no relation to Boonie, who is in fact an Australian cricketer.
I learned that the brain’s pneumotaxic centre, down under the ear and close to the neck, regulates – among other things – the amount of air you pull into your lungs when you breathe, and increases that amount as you exercise.
I learned that a whale shark is 40 feet long and weighs 47,000 pounds. That’s almost 13 metres, and 21-and-a-half metric tons. And I learned that great white sharks are 20 feet long, and weigh over 7,000 pounds (6.4 metres, 3,300 kg).
And I learned that megalodons were around 60 feet long – that’s around 20 metres – and weighed somewhere between 50 and 100 tons, and at that point whether you’re talking about metric or short tons, it really doesn’t matter because that’s a giant motherfucking fish.
So much cool stuff to learn, and so little time. This is just the beginning.