Author: J. W. Judge (page 1 of 2)

Word Count Chronicles: Two Days Consecutively

3/24: 566 words this morning. I’m on a two-day run. I could have had more words, but I spent an inordinate amount of time working on a symbol that’s going to have some significance in Walls Ascending.

I might as well show it since I spent so much time working on it. I found it more difficult than expected to get six intersecting circles aligned just right.

J. W. Judge Witches' Mark Expectant Writer Walls Ascending

Word Count Chronicles: Day 75 (Breaking New Ground)

1/23: 495 words. Today, I started writing a scene that I’m been thinking about and trying to figure out since I was halfway through Vulcan Rising. I have a pretty good idea-ish for how it’s going to go now. Or at the very least, I’m not scared to start writing it anymore and I have confidence that I can work .out the details as I go.

(Un)pleasant Surprise While Doing Research for my Novel

In what may turn out to be a terrible idea, I’ve decided to set my second novel, Walls Ascending, in a place that I’ve never been. I have a good reason for doing so, but that doesn’t mean I’ll be able to pull it off.

Walls Ascending is the sequel to Vulcan Rising, a contemporary dark fantasy novel that verges on horror at times. This second book is looking like it’s going to follow suit.

Expectant Writer J. W. Judge (Un)pleasant Surprise While Doing Research for My Novel

What I looked for and (thought I) found was a sleepy, little town in the Black Forest of Germany. I did a little bit of searching and landed in Hornberg. Then I started writing.

The setting in Vulcan Rising is Birmingham, Alabama, and there are times that it becomes nearly a character of its own. I want Hornberg to be that for Walls Ascending despite my not having set foot there. This meant that I needed to do more research. Fortunately, my training as a historian and a lawyer has instilled in me a deep appreciation for the treasure that can be uncovered with diligent research.

As I dug into Hornberg’s past, it didn’t take me long to strike gold. I learned that in 1959 a serial killer named Heinrich Pommerenke went on a killing spree, and over the course of 3 1/2 months he committed the following atrocities before being captured: “65 crimes, including four murders, seven other attempted murders, two completed and 25 attempted rapes, six robberies, ten break-ins and six simple thefts” (Wikipedia).

As soon as I read it, I knew that was going to making it into the dark fantasy story I’m writing. How could it not? It seemed like immediate affirmation that the sleepy, little German town with an insidious past was the perfect setting for Walls Ascending.

But I wouldn’t have had that extra element of specificity and authenticity, if I hadn’t put in the time and effort to conduct extra research for my novel. It’s not the first time that researching for a novel has paid off. And I expect it won’t be the last.