The Write State of Mind: February, week 1

Sometimes, writing means research. Sometimes, that research leads to more research. Sometimes, that research leaves you scratching your head and asking questions like “Can you even fold papyrus?!??”

The answer, by the way, is no, not really, or maybe if it were still wet, but that’s about it.

I wrote a short outtake today that I’ve been wanting to work on forever, concerning Seth’s favorite holiday. Wishing Day is celebrated by sending little fires out into the Universe, by all manner of vehicles. The most popular in Seth’s hometown were paper lanterns and boats.

(Fun fact: I simply cannot spell “lanterns” correctly the first time. It always comes out “laterns” and then “lanters” and then finally, FINALLY, I stop being so stingy with my n’s and spell it right. But this happens EVERY TIME.)

As I was writing, I realized the particular origami designs I had in mind must have been a result of cultural bleed over from the tigers. No problems there, Seth’s clan lived on the edge of tiger territory, but it was still fun to go “Oh look, cultural exchange! Ya know, like real cultures would do. Hooray!”. Somehow satisfying, like a sign I was “doing it right” or whatever.

But the extent of my origami knowledge comes from one little class I took in high school, so I hit the Googles to make sure I knew more or less what I was talking about. I’m not above making things up, but it’s nice to touch base with reality every now and again.

Some of the designs you’d see at a Wishing Night celebration might include:the classic flying lantern and crane, candle boats and inflatable fish, and all manner of just plain pretty things cause we’re already folding paper so why not?

But all this research got me thinking: how old is origami anyways?

The answer was: not old enough. At the risk of spoilers, let’s just say that Seth’s ancestors were along waaaay before origami, or even paper, so I had to get creative. This is a problem I run into a lot as a writer: How “real” is it? I’m not above the occasional “Because magic, that’s why”, but I try hard to steer clear of it when it just feels like a lazy fix. A little more Googling, and I was able to piece together that papyrus was old enough, but not pliable enough, but when you’re dealing with lanterns that are held aloft by magical flames, what’s to say a little magical plant fiber manipulation wasn’t also involved? It’s not like I’d need to get this in depth in text anyways, it was just for my own personal curiosity.

So that’s what the Write State of Mind looks like this week- lots and lots of research, and some playing. Editing is still coming along, but I’ve missed just playing with my characters, so we’re having a bit of fun and making origami. Everyone deserves a little fun now and again, right?

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5 thoughts on “The Write State of Mind: February, week 1

  1. I love it! So true about the research, and my ‘lantern’ word is’available’! Why can I never get all the A’s in the right place at the right time? And I always have to pause before the B, because the word just stops flowing somewhere along the way. Grrrrr.

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  2. I’m glad that your research has been fun! And hearing about Seth made me go all giggly. 🙂

    I concur with how difficult it can be to do research. I did just the tiniest bit on whips for my character and no more cause it’s pretty freaky what you can find if you plug that word into a search engine!

    Have fun with the origami, the research and the writing! 🙂

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