My Traitor Brain

Q: How many writers does it take to change a light bulb? A: Don’t change a f*cking thing!

My Traitor Brain

Some part of me must absolutely firkin love getting me in trouble with MeMum. I don’t know what it is, but it’s there and it’s loud and I can’t easily ignore it because of this:

Q: How many writers does it take to change a light bulb?

A: Don’t change a f*cking thing!

Yeah. Writers get really attached to ideas. For instance, my fictional overall location for Murder Dollhouse is an island chain roughly the same land mass as the British Isles. I love that as an idea over using a real location because, interestingly enough, the information on real locations isn’t as abundant or free as one might think.

Plus you have to filter everything through the sales shill folks put up so that they get more tourists.

But because I mentioned this and “Pacific Oceans” in the same paragraph, I got an email about how this whole thing being unfeasible because it was too small for the major cities necessary for some good cold-cases.

Submitted for your approval – Madagascar, New Zealand, Japan, Hawaii, and the actual British Isles.

I was going to go on a whole rant about this, including the fact that the actual model for my land masses is actually four nations melded into one. But I really don’t want another episode of “You publicly shamed me on the internet” so I’m trying to say my piece with context so the offence is largely minimised.

And I have to remember “Kill Your Darlings” so my world-building includes islands big enough without being too big to be plausible. And remember that even small communities can leap to the wrong conclusions because everybody does know everybody and they’re either (a) too benevolent to a social darling, or (b) too eager to dump on the local pariah.

There’s fun to be had there without getting shirty about my mind-picture versus that of my admittedly best editor ever.

I can do four to five large-ish islands in a chain, each with a maximum of five major cities, sprinkle with a pinch of little townships, and add a garnish of tiny little islands where there’s like five families there. Terrace farming on one or two of the large islands, cottage industries on the smaller ones. There’s potential for rich and varied cultural differences between city kids and podunk island kids. And room for people who still live in bamboo huts and fish for their families and never want to go near anything that needs a battery.

This, because of the MO of your average missionary:

  1. Go to an otherwise peaceful and ordinary society that has yet to hear the word of your God.
  2. Hand the natives shiny things [eg: battery-powered lights] under the guise of helping.
  3. When the batteries wear out, offer them more with the caveat that they come to your spanking new church. Every week.
  4. Proceed to tell them in subtle and unsubtle ways that everything they’e been doing so far is a sin and they’re going to hell.
  5. Sell them other technological marvels while they’re there.
  6. Feel that warm, loving glow as said natives’ society goes to shit and missionary essentially eradicates yet another culture from the face of this sad Earth.

For the record, I was raised an Xtian and I know my lot do this on the regular. Hell, they’ve been doing it for centuries. Us white folk are very much “my way or the highway”. Things will get interesting when the Western Empire collapses. But I digress.

There’s room for improvement in my world. This I grant. I’m still building it. And worse, I don’t have three encyclopedia sets to fill with all this nonsense, I have to make it evident in the narrative.

There’s definitely going to be some alternate-history stuff where other pacific island nations had no problem finding and trading with my imaginary one, but the white people(tm) thought it was imaginary until they literally stumbled across it. Because it’s both factual and comedy gold.

History is littered with examples of white people not believing the natives until they figure it out themselves. See; Thor Heyerdahl making the Easter Island statues “walk” by listening to the natives, and the subsequent rediscovery of this fact in the modern era; White Americans finally realising that yes, squirrels actually do gnaw their way into maple trees for the sap; and assorted “primitive superstitions” actually getting backed up by modern science centuries after the fact.

All this when the autistic character and how the world treats her is my actual focus. In one hundred and twenty thousand words. Whilst having a compelling chain of events to follow.

It’s going to be fun.