Some have asked where I get the ideas for my stories. Well, they just come from the creative side of my mind. It does help that I have two outlets for this creativity…scale modeling and writing. Some of my stories come from tidbits of information, such as the life experiences I’ve had and the stories others have shared with me.
In the recent chapter of the Night Lark the story involves landing at Nahkon Phanom, Thailand, which included some of the sights my dad had conveyed to me while he told about being stationed there during the Vietnam War. The antenna farm (which I have also read about and seen in various publications) and the sights of Puff laying down rings of tracers as it struck targets across the border, both were told to my by my dad. Which were best viewed from a favorite hang out along the river in the town of NKP. How many of you remember similar favorite hang outs that you patronized to sip a cold one after a long day at the “war?” I can remember a few! ;o)
I’ll also use resources available now, such as the Internet and Google Earth to look at the topography and geography of the area I’m using in my stories. Wouldn’t make sense to tell a story about the being over the vast ocean if you were flying our of lets say, Kansas. An ocean of wheat and barley maybe. Webster as well as Google help with spelling and identifying certain aspects of the content being used. Nothing gets one in trouble faster with an audience of a story not plausible. Not having flown a Boeing 337 I used the Internet to pull up some performance stats…normal cruise, max speed and range. But we as artists are allowed to stretch that some too.
Take the Rocket Interceptor story, I used Google Earth to find a place in the UK that offered the swampy setting I needed for my story. I found such a spot near Sturry which had a lake and a swampy area. It was in close proximity to several of the bases used in during the Battle of Britain I had read about. In the composite picture I created for the story, I used another resource, an image I took while walking along one of our area trails.
This serves well for not only the story to depict the model, but helps me learn and develop the skills I need for illustration needs necessary for my businesses. In this picture of the Night Lark, I used a shot of the snow outside my office window for the ocean background. Again the resources at hand can dictate the story line. If you’ve never been somewhere it can be more difficult to write about what you are seeing. If you have a good illustration you can convey that not only in words but with a picture too.
Depending on my mood at the time is a deciding factor on how much technical detail I include, such as the procedures the characters might go through as they perform various tasks of piloting. As a pilot many of the various basic procedures are ingrained into my memory…G U M P…gas, undercarriage, mixture and prop! Check fuel selector, lower the landing gear, full rich and high RPM in preparation for landing. I will at times in some of my stories use more detail describing such events, but for the short stories I just tend to touch on them enough to light the lamp in your imagination.
The same holds true for the physical attributes, the sounds, mannerisms, gestures, tones, inflections and other descriptions to help illustrate what the character is doing at the time. He raised his right leg, rolled his hips and ripped loose a loud fart which quickly dispersed through the air like a cloud of toxic gas, we all felt ill when it reached our nostrils. I generally save the “rich” content for long stories, which I also enjoy writing.
Much of the fiction in history has proven to become reality. Not that my Rocket Interceptor or Night Lark are accurate recounts of history, but then there are those who have shared tidbits that say I was very very close to some of their first hand experiences. Maybe there will be a 6th generation fighter known as the Merlin. Guess I better start laying down more specifics about it so I can trademark and copyright the design…to capitalize on it later when the government and the aircraft industry comes a call’in!
That’s how I do it, a little imagination, some solid resources, some illusion and a few hours at the keyboard laying down the thoughts as they pop into my head. When I sat down to write I have no plan as to where the storyline is going, it just happens. I leave it up to you as to whether or not it worked. It must have because the requests for MORE chapters keeps coming in. Now to get back to finishing the model as well. I added the antennas and masts, now I need to string the wires for the HF and add some nav lights.
There are other projects coming along which will probably yield more stories as well. One of my latest creations, dubbed Project Pinocchino is a modified Grumman Hawkeye airframe being used by NASA. Or was it the NSA? Guess we’ll have to wait and see!