Researching Toads

​By 1984, I’d been avoiding my novel for a year or two. It seemed to me a risky venture. I’d read extensively in science fiction, speculative fiction, utopias and dystopias ever since my high school years in the 1950s, but I’d never written such a book. Was I up to it? The form was strewn with pitfalls, among them a tendency to sermonize, a veering into allegory and a lack of plausibility. If I was to create an imaginary garden I wanted the toads in it to be real. One of my rules was that I would not put any events into the book that had not already happened in what James Joyce called the “nightmare” of history, nor any technology not already available. No imaginary gizmos, no imaginary laws, no imaginary atrocities. God is in the details, they say. So is the Devil.

-Margaret Atwood

If you haven’t heard, Margaret Atwoods book, the Handmaids Tale, is being made into a tv show… on Hulu :(. Cause honestly who even has hulu. But if you’ve read the book then you are probably excited like me about the fact that it even is getting a show. I swear I’ll find a way to watch it. Got to make a friend who uses hulu.

But that is not what I’m writing about, that’s just how I found this quote. See Margaret Atwood wrote an article about the Handmaids Tale in the NY Times and as I was browsing around on the internet I stumbled into it. I left a link to it below if you want to read the whole thing. The super long quote i took from it which is above is what really hit me though.

See I want to write a book, as I’m sure many many of you other bloggers out there do. Thing is my original story idea had magic, and curses and all this crazy stuff in it. So even though I had a gut feeling about it being the book I wanted to write, I left it. I wasn’t happy eith what it was about so i just gave up for a good while.

That is I gave up until recently. I decided to take another crack at it recently and started trying to find out a way to translate the core of my story into the real world. It was like a puzzle or maybe more like a balancing act. I wanted to leave the main parts the same whiel at the same time stripping it of all its magic and giving ut more meaning. 

I finally figured out a way to do that but now I feel all the pressure of researching the millions of things that I don’t know about. Everytime I think of writing I realize yet another thing I should research first. Not that I hate research or anything. It is just I want every detail to be perfect before I start writing.

I’m just so busy trying to get all the toads in my imaginary garden to be real. Margaret Atwood gets it. And if she can get stuck for years stubbornly planning a book and have it turn out absolutely amazing then so can I. Looks like I’ve found a new role model.


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