Some of the weird things I’ve learned writing

Posted: February 9, 2013 in Writing
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Writing is one of those things where you have to research some strange things in order to sound credible.

These are some of the questions I’ve researched when writing The Wasteland Chronicles:

How big, exactly, does an asteroid have to be in order cause an apocalypse on the scale of the dinosaurs?

Asteroids range in size from meters to miles. The bigger ones (like the one that’s about to pass us, here) could easily wipe out an entire city. The big ones that are miles wide would end civilization and maybe the human race as we know it. This is what happened to the dinosaurs, most likely. The fact that such a rare event happened in The Wasteland Chronicles in the year 2030 is highly, highly improbable…all meteors of this level of lethality (I think I just made the word up) are documented and none of them will hit Earth on the order of millenniums. That Ragnarok (the meteor in my series) does, will be explained in book two.

How long does it take for someone to recover from a gunshot wound to the shoulder?

It depends on a lot of things: where the bullet entered, did it damage any vitals, did the wound get infected, did it hit bone, did the bullet fracture, was the person young or old, in good or bad health…on and on and on. I learned at minimum someone would be discharged from a hospital in maybe ten days, if things weren’t too shaky. From a shoulder wound, the person would be in a sling from three to six months. Again, it all depends.

What does camel meat taste like?

This is probably the weirdest question I had to research. In the world of The Wasteland Chronicles, meat is a rare commodity, mainly because most of the animals died. One of the few animals that managed to do well, after escaping zoos, were the camels, who survived the harsh environment of the desert a lot better than other species. Camels, therefore, are the main source of meat in the Mojave in the year 2060, thirty years after the impact of the Meteor. Even still, they are not exactly plentiful, as food sources are limited. Camels do fairly well in the cold, especially Bactrian camels (mid-Asia), as well as the kind that live in the Gobi Desert in China, where it can get bitterly cold. But from what I gathered from the Internet (alas, I could not partake in camel myself), camel sorta taste like old beef – its stringy, slightly gamy, and has a barn-like taste to it, whatever that means. It doesn’t sound particular pleasant, but it’s usually prepared in stew or cooked with a red center (I assume because of its toughness), and spiced. It is eaten in the Middle East, where camels are naturally bountiful.

These are just a few of the many questions I’ve had to research. I didn’t go too heavy in it – I got the basic gist and use my brain to fill in the rest. I probably made some technical errors, and if the series takes off, I’m sure I’ll get taken to task on a few of them. However, to me, the main thing is to tell a good story – and as long as your entire story isn’t predicated on a glaring factual error, the rest can be forgiven.

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