Research Update


For the last month or so, I’ve been doing research as I’ve come upon things I’ve needed to know for the first draft of Perceval in Love (book 3).  I have finished the Helsinki chapters and Evan is now back in Vienna.  Another location came up — a fictitious Greek island.  I’ve pulled images of Greek islands off the internet to use as reference.  Evan stays in Vienna for awhile which will give me time to do the necessary research for the St. Petersburg, Russia chapters at the end and to make the decisions I need to make about the action there.  Another research topic came up — slow-acting poison.  I am tempted, since the book is set in 2049, to make up a poison, something synthetic that will do what I need for it to do for the narrative.  I know of a couple substances used beneficially that can be lethal in large doses, but I think they are unpredictable regarding the time they take effect, i.e. would kill someone.  I need a bit more predictability.  Ah, the advantages of working in fiction….  I can always finish the draft and research the poisons afterward when I have a better idea of the timing of that particular death.

 Ongoing Research: I’ve now finished, for the moment, the periodic research on building career and repertoire for conductors.  I’ve been gleaning a lot of good information from the Minnesota Orchestra’s Inside the Classics blog and conductor Sarah Hatsuko Hicks’ posts (thank you, Ms. Hicks!). 

An issue has come up for book 3 that involves conducting Shostakovich, especially in rehearsal.  I am thinking of asking permission to observe two working (not dress) rehearsals of the Minnesota Orchestra in a month or two.  In two consecutive weeks, they will perform two different Shostakovich symphonies and I’d like to see and hear how the two different conductors rehearse that composer’s music for ideas for Evan.  Before I make the request, however, I want to make certain that I’ll need to observe the rehearsals so I’m glad I have some time to figure that out.  Evan will rehearse the Shostakovich 8th Symphony in St. Petersburg, and I’m beginning to see that it will be a pivotal scene for his character, the end of the second act, the moment when all looks lost.  I’d like the music to also reflect that and have him recognize it in the music somehow….. 

Other research: I’ll pick up the Perceval’s Shadow research when I return to that book for a rewrite.  I’ve got my hands full with book 3’s needs.

I think Book 4 will be set mostly in Canada and America, so I won’t have as much location research to do, but I may need to read more about future trends for these countries. 

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One response to “Research Update

  1. 1. If you need photos of Greece, I’d be happy to bring mine to Stammtisch on Thursday. Admittedly, mine are all from the Peleponese, not the islands, but hey … they are nice pics.

    2. I’m glad I read the note about the impending Shastakovitch symphonies. He’s one of my favorite composers. I’ll have to go check out the schedule. Never been to the orchestra here yet, but the production in 2 weeks of Battleship Potempkin will be a ‘can-do-late-birthday-present”, if we can get the sitter that night.

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