Thursday, October 27, 2011

Birth of An Idea

I've been working on jotting down my idea. I don't tend to plot too tightly when I'm writing for NaNo, or indeed for most stories, because that can all too easily kill the spontaneity of following a character's reactions and seeing where they lead. So I just jot down a quick idea, a rough guide to what the story is about and where it is headed. And, in this case, since this story will be an alternate history, I'm trying to rough out the historical changes that will affect my story.

Which brings us to my choice of pen and ink. For this first exploration of the bare bones of the story, I chose a Wality 77D, a piston filler made in India that no longer seems to be made. It is a pity these aren't still on the market, since it cost me significantly less than twenty dollars when I bought it new, and it is a beautiful pen with a nice, smooth semi-hooded steel nib. It does seem to require coaxing if it is allowed to sit nib up for very long, but writes so well that is a minor issue. The metal cap also has a beautiful pierced pattern, while a dark plastic inner cap prevents the nib from drying out too easily.

I filled it with Noodlers Air Corps Blue-Black, which is a very nice ink with a World War Two theme. It flows excellently in every pen I've tried it in, dries quickly enough I haven't managed to smear it so far, and looks nice on the page. In the photos I took (which Blogger is being stubborn about letting me upload, citing an "internal error" every time I try), it shows as a basic black, but in person, there is a subtle blue tint to the blackness that makes it a very appealing ink to use. It is an ink I only obtained recently, but it has already become one of the colours I never want to run out of.

I chose the pen because it was made in India, and while my story is set mostly in Britain and in Europe, there are flashbacks to my main character's past in India, when he served with the British Army there during the Indian Rebellion. For those who aren't sure of their history, the Indian Rebellion of 1931-33 is the "point of departure" for my alternate history. There are so many ripple effects that can alter the delicate balance of what was, after all, a very touchy period of history. And I filled it with Air Corps Blue-Black because of the association with World War Two, as much of the story is set during World War Two.

I'd recommend Air Corps Blue-Black to any writer for any project. The only task it isn't really suitable for would be marking up an existing draft, since it wouldn't offer enough contrast to stand out (unless, of course, your draft was written in a lighter colour). And it is permanent enough to allow you to recover what you wrote even if you spill coffee all over your completed manuscript. For those writers who enjoy a dash of Indian style, the pierced cap of the Wality 77D is appealing, the piston filler is convenient and easy to use, and the nib is a dream to write with. It is a light, cheap pen, and although my cats demonstrated that it can survive a two foot fall (capped) with absolutely no damage, isn't the toughest, most durable pen ever made. Still, it would be nice if Wality still made these.

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