Research, Wagner, and Plot beginning to come together

I had some issues with the plot in the middle of the book, but I am finally coming up with ways to smooth it all out so it works.

I’ve also been watching Wagner’s Ring Cycle on Youtube, because Hitler said you need to know Wagner to understand the Nazis.  And this is a psychological novel, not the usual WWII kill-all-Nazis theme.  I want to get into people’s heads and understand their motivations.

The Ring Cycle is engrossing and beautiful, and the inspiration for Lord of the Rings.

I have to do some more reading, but I suspect Hitler was referring to the golden boy saving the world from the greedy ones.  And you know, in the olden days, even respectable people thought Jewish people were greedy as a race.  I read the book Svengali, and it’s full of stereotypes denigrating Jews.  The author was English, not German.  Svengali was a Jew.  Just read Chaucer and you’ll find hatred of Jews, with no shame or apology.  Hemingway’s prejudice is on display in The Sun Also Rises.  You can also see anti-Jewish sentiment in The Great Gatsby.  And McTeague, the inspiration for the classic silent film Greed, has the stereotypically greedy Jew.

Nowadays the very thought of these stereotypes of Jews is repulsive, reminding us of what led to the Holocaust.  But the Nazis would have thought they (especially the golden-haired ones) were the good guys and the Jews (and everybody else on their fecal roster, probably including everyone who won WWI) were the bad guys.  So in their own minds, they’d be the hero Siegfried, and the Jewish people would be the greedy dragon Fafner and the dwarves, especially Alberich and Hagen.

The more I research, the more intrigued I get, and the more involved I get in the heads of the characters of my story.

 

 

 

Research first or write first?

This was originally posted on my personal blog on December 10, 2016.

I’ve occasionally come across this question online: Should you write your novel and then research (and have to go through and rip up parts of it and do them over), or research first and then write?

I can see the logic in researching first and then writing.  But there’s a little problem with that: Me itching to get the story down and dang the plausibility of it!  I can go back later and fix things.

That is, in fact, how my rewrite of Unwilling Time-Traveler has been going.  I write and research at the same time, then find something in the research that makes me go back and rip up everything, then write again, then stop to research for a while, then stop the research for a while to write again….

The thing is, until I get the story down, and know how I want it to go, how do I know what all I need to research, where to focus my efforts?

And the other thing is that the Muse is there, alive and yelling at me to get to it.  If I ignore her, she might leave me, leave my mind a dry and barren land, with no ideas to turn all those research facts into an entertaining story.

I’ll make up my mind to stop the writing and just research, research, research for a while, because I have story difficulties that can only be resolved by knowing historical facts.  But then after doing some research, I start to feel like a ripe grape, ready to burst with all those creative juices and ideas.

I suppose this is a good thing: If, after more than a year, you’re still itching to write your story, it must at least be readable when it’s done, I hope?  😀