Day 3- The Horror

Day three, and back to the workshop. Lots of talk about research today, where to find facts, what to do with them, how not to be too distracted by it. Because Wikipedia is the devil, sometimes. Then we were off to the library, to do some research for our 24 hour stories.

The Hollywood library was six or seven blocks from the Author Services building, so we walked. It was hot in LA that week- high 90’s and 100’s. We clung to the shade and scurried along, pale roaches who feared the scorching sun almost as much as we feared the sweaty masses of tourists that clogged the street. Finally the crowds thinned out as we got away from the touristy areas, trading the stars in the sidewalk for the lingerie stores in the store fronts. One of the last stars was Ray Bradburys- maybe the only sci-fi writer who has a star. I could research that, but… meh.

So a long walk, but it was entertaining. We got to talk to each other, and Tim Powers was giving a running commentary on Hollywood and how its changed over the years. Eventually, we reached the library, a little urban place that had a lot more movie posters in it than I was used to, but otherwise seemed pretty standard. There, I got to impress everyone with my amazing ability to find books. On the shelves. Yes, I have the Library use skill.


I spent my time stripping the shelves of mythologies. I was mulling an idea about a black market in mythical monsters, monsters caught in glass. I didn’t get much on monsters thought, and instead ended up reading about spirits and gods.


Then it was time to go, time to get lunch and make it back for the rest of the workshop. We had an hour and a half, no problem. You would think. Maybe having almost all of us descend on the same hapless restaurant at once wan’t such a good idea. About two and a half hours later, we finally made it back.

Then, we had to face it. The dark side of the workshop. The evil side. The stranger interview.

This is a part of the whole research idea. Y’know, chat with people, see how they talk, steal their lives and personalities to use as characters. Basic stuff. But talking to strangers? Seriously, I was told not to. By Grover. Besides, I’m an introvert. Anti-social. I thought these were good qualities for a writer. But we had to do it, so out we went.

Luckily, I had a plan. Hollywood is lined with all kinds of shops, including a bunch of tattoo parlors. So I went in, asking about getting a tattoo. I tried to be nice, told them I wasn’t getting any ink today, just that I was thinking about it. And I have thought about it. Vaguely. On occasion. Anyway, the first place was a wash- the guy barely said three words. The second place went fine though. Had a nice conversation about tattoos, how they’re done, how he liked working on Hollywood, etc. So after that I wandered around a little, made myself bug a few more people, and went back. I noticed that unlike lunch, everyone made it back early from this assignment.


Oh, the poor guy in the picture was one of many I saw all week hauling guitars around. I asked him what was up with that, and he told me that there was a school for becoming a studio musician a couple of blocks from the hotel. So there, I learned something.

Once we were back, we got a little more encouragement, and then the clock started. In 24 hours, we had to have a story.

So back to the hotel, and the work began. My basic plan- connect up some of the random thoughts I had, do some more research, stay up late and try to have a very rough draft done for the next day.

By about nine, I had my idea, my research was mostly done, and I was typing away. Slowly. Time for dinner. So I went down to the lobby, where Gra, Cheryl and Heather were hunched over their laptops in the posh lobby of our ritzy hotel. Ah, we were all such writing nerds. Anyway, Gra and Cheryl also needed food, so we hit the fancy burger bar in the hotel. Very good, giant burgers, and overpriced. Not so much the burgers, but four bucks for a coke? Really?

Anyway, back to work. I stayed up for awhile, got about a thousand words, then gave in for the night. I could finish the rough tomorrow. It’s not like I wouldn’t be getting up early. Whether I liked it or not.

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