Today may well be a very significant day of my life. Here's the story. Today is the 15th anniversary of the day that Sweetie and I met. It is also the day I began to untie the knot that was my work in progress novel. I have no idea why but elements of the story just started to jump into place. I had a general idea of what to write but there were many disparate things that I had in mind and I just couldn't get them organized. The earlier starts that I made were rewritten so many times they became mush.
Like a puzzle being solved, the old BPU (brain processing unit) started putting it together. Some things are still there from my early inspirations, like how the protagonist is just like me except for being younger, smarter, better looking, far more ambitious and not at all curmudgeonly. Which is to say, not at all like me, but it's my writers license and that's my story and I'm sticking to it. The female leading role is of course modeled on Sweetie except she doesn't need to be smarter, better looking, more ambitious and not curmudgeonly because she is already all that, although to match
The genre is historical fiction but this is no Forrest Gump epic where the hero just happens to show up at every major happening. No,
But I want the story and the historic background to be as accurate as I can make it. So what I also discovered today is that research is fun but sometimes I can't find what I need and it is time consuming.
What I am trying to find is a resource that shows U.S. railroad routes, schedules, correct names of the railroads of the era and the types of locomotives that a particular railroad used for freight or passenger trains. You wouldn't believe the multitudes of small railroads that became consolidated into bigger ones during the 1920s, some of them with really cool names that are now 'fallen flags' as they are known in railroading, meaning the name has disappeared by takeover, merger, failure or other causes. Like the C&EI railroad was made of many little lines before the C&EI itself was absorbed. I'm looking for routes Chicago - Indianapolis and Chicago - LA or SF. The year I am starting with is 1921 and the story will move through the 1920s but probably not beyond 1929. I would rather save the Great Depression for volume 2 and WWII for volume 3 if by some wild chance volume 1 becomes even a small success.
OK, a novel written by the RoadTripDog is going to feature some very cool old automobiles and trucks. And some of you may suspect there is gonna be a train chase. Or two. I love train chase stories, like the Isaac Bell series that Clive Cussler writes. And take a look at this video (not for the squeamish):
It is violent, it is sad, it has moments of elegance and a real feeling of its era. It has some very sharp old cars. It has interesting music. Although it is set about 10 years later than my story it has the feeling that I want my novel to evoke, with some modifications. I plan to test some scenes here on dA to see if I'm on the right 'track' (pun intended).
I'm hoping that my railroading friends here can point me in the right direction in my research. Any technical details are welcome, but like most authors I don't want any story ideas. If you give me one I can't use it. However, those who point me to the right railroad information could get a name (first or last but not both) attached to a railroad character. Respond in a comment to this journal or message me here on dA or email me: roadtripdog at rocketmail dot com. And remember: "Never, never, never quit". I've been working this story for over 15 years and now it may actually see daylight. Won't that be the cat's pajamas!