Please help: writing a fiction novel about living in a cave

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Re: Writing a book about caving???

Postby ian mckenzie » Oct 12, 2005 10:23 am

shalon wrote: I live in Canada, in the Okanagan, and yes, I'd love to go explore any caves around here - if you have any connections for me - I'd appreciate it.
Check this:
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Postby Squirrel Girl » Oct 12, 2005 12:52 pm

bremen66 "the cave" why explain the workings of a rebreather?
Because rebreathers exist, whereas their miracle cave mapper doesn't?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
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Postby hewhocaves » Oct 12, 2005 5:35 pm

Hi Shalon,

A couple of thoughts, one writer to another. If the cave is being used metaphorically, then you are allowed some leeway. Check out Toni Morrison's "Song of Solomon" for something very similar to what you are trying to accomplish.

As for your UFO analogy, the answer again depends. If you are writing a story about UFOs visiting earth in the 1960s-1970s and your point of reference is all the UFO abductees then yes, you need to become an expert in the subject you are writing about. If you are just using the phrase "flying saucer" for a Sci-fi book then you probably don't need to know the difference between Zetan Greys and the Greens, but you should be careful before throwing the term out there as you might mislead your audience's expectations.

In any case, it never hurts to do more, rather than less research. You never know what you might uncover. Some picture of a cave might inspire you to further refine your metaphor, for example.

Lastly, a couple of unsolicited things to toss out.

1) where is this cave located, geographically. Caves have different characteristics in diferent parts of the world.
2) don't neglect the tactile and aromatic sensations of a cave. Caves ahve a limited number of smells and they do tend to linger. They can also range from being very wet to very dry.
3) Warmth is also soemthing you may want to include in your metaphor; again this varies considerably from region to region. There's no point in saying that a character is warm in ankle-deep water in a cave in Alaska and the same goes for cooling off in a cave in Puerto Rico.
4) Ignore 99.9% of what you see in Hollywood. Tehy know butkus.
5)If your local library has it, read through "The Longest Cave". You get a good sense of what caving is like in Kentucky and how to write about people underground (caves aren't mines!)

Anyway, just some thoughts. There are enough bad cave books on the market. A good one would be a welcome change.

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Postby Herman Miller » Oct 12, 2005 6:26 pm

Squirrel Girl wrote:
bremen66 "the cave" why explain the workings of a rebreather?
Because rebreathers exist, whereas their miracle cave mapper doesn't?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

true true but wouldnt it make our lifes so much simpler
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Postby shalon » Oct 13, 2005 8:03 pm

I didn't mean you - when i wrote that. Sorry about that. Yah - your answers were helpful. I tried to respond to you with a private message - but i couldn't figure it out.
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Postby Buford Pruitt » Oct 13, 2005 9:13 pm


Another fiction writer contacted our grotto (Florida Speleological Society) a few months ago with questions like yours, and a couple of our members (Mike Gordon and Kitty Markley) took her into at least one cave. She was able to "ask away" about all kinds of issues. I think you'll get far more information face-to-face than via an internet forum. I recommend that you ask some local cavers to take you caving; I'm sure they will.
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