Wednesday, July 6, 2011

On a cross-country train trip...

My wife and I are taking Amtrack across the country to go to her sister's wedding. Coach fare is cheaper than airfare, and we'd never traveled on a train before.

You got to see a lot of the countryside when traveling by rail, much more than you see on a plane. You also spend a lot of time in the train. Our trip is taking four days. We couldn't afford a sleeper car, and I've confirmed again that I really need to be laying out flat to get a good night's sleep. My Dad would love it though, he sleeps in a chair anyway, and he's fascinated by trains.

We've also learned something interesting things about the train, such as the speed limit for passenger trains in the U.S. is 79 miles per hour. Also, some of the windows come apart to serve as an emergency exit. They say "caution: steep drop". Yeah. We're on the second story of the train. I'm pretty sure I'd bread a leg if I had to get out of the train that way.

What does this have to do with writing, you ask? I've seen the following bit of advice on many different writing sites: Get as many different experiences as possible, because it immensely enrich your writing if write from experience. Even in fantasy and sci-fi, something that is relatable, and sounds like you know what your talking about will suck the reader in. conversely, something that doesn't ring true will halt the story, as the reader says "Wait, no way!"

I think I'm going to put a train in the book I'm working on now...