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HuMJah


Sep 2, 2010, 1:08 PM
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Looking for an advisor for a novel
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I grew up in the Allegheny mountains, so scrambling over them was never a big deal to me... but I've never really been a rock climber. More than that, I've since moved away from there and don't have good mountains to climb (I so miss my mountains!) and have put on enough weight that I need to lose that before I pick up the sport (yes, I'm working on it).

Why does that matter? Because I have the idea for a novel set during a mountain climb. I can do the wiki research and bluff and hope to get the details close enough, but I want this to be authentic and believable. Ideally, I'd try climbing myself... but, well, we've already addressed the flaw with that plan.

Is there anyone here who would be willing to help me understand what I need to know to write a mountain climb realistically enough that if you were reading it, you'd feel like you were right there?


(If I put this in the wrong place, I apologize. I don't see threads like this elsewhere. And I did do some reading in the articles to help me get a start... if I need to bluff this on my own, I could... but I'm hoping to get believable. And yes, you would get credit in the book. :D )


Rudmin


Sep 2, 2010, 1:10 PM
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Depends what kind of route on what mountain, what kind of climbers, and what time period.


shimanilami


Sep 2, 2010, 1:10 PM
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This sounds like a job for Majid Sabet.

Or USNavy.

Perhaps they could collaborate.


HuMJah


Sep 2, 2010, 1:18 PM
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It's 2 climbers, someone with little/no experience, and one who is an expert... think someone who has reached Everest's summit more than once... and is a very patient teacher.

I have no specific mountain in mind; the story is about the relationship between the two climbers, and how the student must learn to trust the master. I want it to feel timeless and universal. I know that makes it harder, but the fact that there were ice picks and ropes in use by the 19th century means that it doesn't have to be modern. Solo climbing also allows for an even older (and more intricate/dangerous) setting.

Yeah, when I said I did some reading up first, I wasn't kidding. ;)

(This post was edited by HuMJah on Sep 2, 2010, 1:21 PM)


Toast_in_the_Machine


Sep 2, 2010, 1:39 PM
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I feel I'm actually qualified to give you advice - not because I'm a great climber, but because I advise a writer all the time.

Since you have shown that you are flexible in the time frame, I suggest doing it as far back in history as you feel comfortable or have a good sense of the time / place. By going back in time you simplify the technical details and get to your human story. If you set it in a modern time, even with an expert reading it closely, you are likely to have difficulty in getting the plot to move. Issues with technical details will likely overwhelm the story.

The movements of the Anasaz up the rock wall are known, but their safety rigging is conjecture. You can describe the motions in general and not trip yourself up.

good luck


HuMJah


Sep 2, 2010, 1:43 PM
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By Anasaz, are you referring to the Anasazi in what is now the 4 corners area of the southwest US? The ancient ancestors of the Pueblo peoples?


Toast_in_the_Machine


Sep 2, 2010, 2:01 PM
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Yes, sorry for slip. I picked that group of ancient people almost out of the hat. If you cast your eye around for any group of people who were "cliff dwellers" or had their funerals on cliffs or harvested birds nests or other activities, you have a climbing culture. And one where a tutor / mentor relationship may be made to be strong using your litterary leaps of logic that won't get mucked up by people picking your gear list apart. Plus your terms don't need to be accurate - no one know what terms were used. Heck, to my example Anasazi isn't even what they called themselves.


HuMJah


Sep 2, 2010, 2:07 PM
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That would certainly help in keeping it timeless, and keep the climbing/gear list from becoming the focus of the story. Thanks for the advice. :D


LineoFire


Sep 2, 2010, 2:18 PM
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not to be a dick, but you should write what you know from experience if youre looking to have an authentic feel to the experience for the reader. if you havent done it, it's going to sound and feel forced because you're arbitrarily creating circumstances to which you have no context. just a thought from someone who has so often failed to create engaging plots based around situations that i've never been in


HuMJah


Sep 2, 2010, 2:26 PM
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I don't think you're being a dick at all, and you raise a valid point.

Because the climb isn't the focus of the story, I'm less worried about. The focus of the story is the two people, the one learning to trust the other and rely on the other, to know that the other is worthy of that trust. That is something I know. The unfolding story of how someone goes from self-reliant to understanding how much they must rely on another, and the fear that accompanies that realization, and then the trust when you recognize that the person you must trust really does know what he is doing, and really does have your best in mind several steps ahead every step of the way. I know that story very well.

I just don't want the physical climb, the physical journey that these characters have to make, to interfere with the emotional journey I'm taking them on.

Thanks for raising the concern.


summerprophet


Sep 2, 2010, 2:46 PM
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HUMJAH,

More than willing to help you on this in whatever way I can. Why? Because I have read some otherwise good pieces of fiction that had horrendous detail when it came to mountain climbing.

One word of advice if you choose someone else though, do not get hung up on what particular equipment / diameter of rope / make and model of whatsits. For some reason writers like all these technical details, but it makes for a horrendous read.

Regardless, best of luck.


HuMJah


Sep 2, 2010, 2:53 PM
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Thanks so much!


bill413


Sep 2, 2010, 3:51 PM
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NO AVALANCHES.

They are not common in rock climbing. Almost every bad climbing story I have read has had an "obligatory" avalanche. You don't need them.


Rudmin


Sep 2, 2010, 3:58 PM
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bill413 wrote:
NO AVALANCHES.

They are not common in rock climbing. Almost every bad climbing story I have read has had an "obligatory" avalanche. You don't need them.

I thought this was about mountain climbing, not rock climbing.

Anyways, you don't need any advisor. If you watch Vertical Limit you pretty much get a handle for the boring details of mountain climbing.


HuMJah


Sep 2, 2010, 4:04 PM
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Laugh I didn't have an avalanche in mind, but I was thinking of a rock slide. Seemed slightly more realistic. The noob gets stuck in a cave while the expert is scouting ahead, and the expert has to dig the noob out. The noob didn't want to sleep in the cave, but the rain shower didn't really leave much choice... wet & miserable in the elements, or less miserable out of them. Avalanches are harder to dig out of, harder to predict, and less likely to happen. A rock slide only needs to be a few rocks to scare the tar out of the noob, but the expert knew the cave would be safe...

of course, that might be cliche, too... hope it's not as bad.


Rudmin


Sep 2, 2010, 4:09 PM
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HuMJah wrote:
Laugh I didn't have an avalanche in mind, but I was thinking of a rock slide. Seemed slightly more realistic. The noob gets stuck in a cave while the expert is scouting ahead, and the expert has to dig the noob out. The noob didn't want to sleep in the cave, but the rain shower didn't really leave much choice... wet & miserable in the elements, or less miserable out of them. Avalanches are harder to dig out of, harder to predict, and less likely to happen. A rock slide only needs to be a few rocks to scare the tar out of the noob, but the expert knew the cave would be safe...

of course, that might be cliche, too... hope it's not as bad.

An avalanche is much more likely than a rock slide. Rocks don't fall from the sky on a regular basis but snow does


patmay81


Sep 2, 2010, 5:22 PM
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this whole thread reminds me of the discussion on that movie the descent. Where those chicks went caving in an easy well established cave. And for some reason brought ropes, a drill, ice axes, a full set of cams... Some one obviously did not think that through all the way some where in the writing process.
Its good to have an editor who knows what they are talking about, especially if you don't.


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