As I’ve mentioned, a very talented artist Doris is working on illustrations for Innkeeper. She is currently drawing Arland in a full set of vampiric armor.
It goes kind of like this:
Me: Oooo, aaaah.
Doris: Armor question?
Me, an hour of research later: answer.
Does it really matter how the stomach armor is constructed? After all, I could just make the decision on what looks cool. Apparently I can’t do it.
In my head, vampires of Cosmic Anocracy are predatory humans who fight similar to great cats. They are ambush predators, powerful, but also fast and flexible. They would not sacrifice all of their mobility for protection. They would want a balance between the two, so I spent lots of time researching Lorica Segmentata, samurai armor, and Iron Man.
The urge to research things is almost compulsive now, and I think it’s a side effect of being a writer. The other day I had a conversation with a friend, who was doing research on demons. She needed a demon with a specific set of powers, so we both looked at different books. At one point I said, “You know, you could just make one up.” She said, “Yes, I suppose.” And then we both went back to digging. We did find the suitable demon eventually.
Writers subconsciously train themselves to be continuously learn. Unfortunately I don’t retain the information I learned. I learn what I need for one book and then I forget it so I could learn what I need for the next book. Inevitably someone asks a question three years later about a particular creature or process I mentioned, and I draw a complete blank. So it’s an interesting side effect skill, but it has limited practical application.
When I was a legal secretary, I developed an interesting side effect skill of remembering phone numbers and attaching these phone numbers to secretary and lawyer names. Let’s say I had to call to Wilson and Associates. In my head Wilson was attached to Tina who ran that office and Tina was attached to a phone number. Ask me what the first name of the owner of the firm was. No clue. But I remember Tina’s number and it’s been almost a decade.
I’m curious, what interesting side effect skills you job saddled you with? The urge to rage quit doesn’t count.