Monday, March 17, 2008

Mining for Gold

Yesterday I spent the day mining. More accurately, I road in a school bus for 90 minutes each way with a bunch of crazy fifth graders to visit the BC Museum of Mining. If you've seen the movies Scooby Two, Double Jeopardy, or Dead Zone you've probably seen the place. It's old and spooky so it can be great fodder for a mystery writer's mind.

This was my third time making the trip because this was my third child to visit the mine. As usual, it was cold (we're talking a hole in a damp mountain in March) and it was noisy (we're talking 30 fifth graders) and it was long (we're talking hours in Vancouver construction traffic). At the end of our time at the mine, we were rewarded by being allowed to go panning for gold. This mine was actually an old copper mine. Although there have been many gold strikes here in BC, there weren't any in this location. However, the museum imports these little vials of gold flakes mixed with sand and pours them into each little miner's pan so they can swish it around in freezing cold water and 'discover' gold. I can't help but find it utterly ridiculous but the kids LOVE it.

It was a lo-o-o-ong bus ride home. Fifth graders can apparently sing dozens of rounds of Ninety-nine Bottles of Pop on the Wall without EVER growing tired of the song. However, I took myself away by thinking about my current work in progress (book # 3) and specifically about a plot question I'd been trying to sort through. I realized that I'd just been scuffing the surface of my characters with this story. I needed to go deeper. To mine for those golden scenes that were beneath the surface. I also needed to look deeper into the cold, icy heart of my villain. Sometimes you gotta mine for the evil too. The minute I started to think that way, I realized the direction I needed to take the story.

Are you digging for good or evil these days?


Chandra Rooney said...


I'm trying to determine who the secret evildooer is.

Erica Orloff said...


Evil. Evil. A total crazy who believes in eugenics. Still digging deeper.