There are a number of jobs that I’m glad I don’t have, and this chapter has a couple of them. Anyone who has to make crime scene recordings or catalog the horrible battles of history – I’m thinking of Matthew Brady and the Gettysburg photos, to be specific. That’s the kind of scene one of the characters is faced with, and she has to “detach herself” and do her job. It’s the kind of things you can’t “un-see” no matter how much you wish you could.
However, on the positive side, a fun thing about developing this book is having one of the characters tell the story of someone who lived back in primitive times. It’s kind of fun to shift from normal, conversational modes of speech and drop back to a simpler vocabulary, not like caveman talk (cave-Thurian talk?), but one lacking all of the modern references.
Just for fun, try this exercise. Imagine that, as you drive to work or go to school, you have someone from an ancient times with you, and … imagine that you can speak their language. How would you explain the Internet to someone who has never used electricity, who lacks even the simple conceptual building blocks for the incredibly complex life we live today. It can be a good and very practical exercise to actually try and verbally explain it. (You know, what’s funny is that before the advent of blue-tooth headsets, someone who was talking to themselves was considered crazy. You’re now not crazy; you’re just on a call, so have a blast!)
We all deal in specializations and with technologies and jargon and acronyms. Pull that ancient aboriginal ancestor out of history, put him in the conference room or the car, and just go through the process of explaining – keep it simple. That exercise can help you the next time you have to explain something to somebody else – someone not familiar with your paradigm and the universe it entails. Just … think!