A few weeks ago I got to travel to Mesa Verde, Colorado.
(My boyfriend has some family there, so we went on the premise of a visit, but really I wanted to see the awesome cliff dwellings. Please don't tell him.)
I love ruins. I love to hear all of the possible scenarios that the historians and such have come up with as to:
Why did they build here?
How many people lived here?
What is the purpose for all of these circular rooms in the floor?
How long did people live here?
Why did they leave?
What did they do with their time?
What did they eat?
I've had the opportunity to see Machu Picchu in Peru, Chichen Itza in Mexico, old places in England and Europe as well as some ruins near Cozumel, Mexico. I listen to the tour guides and eat it up!
I maybe should have been an archeologist.
So as I'm sticking my head in a window in the cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde, I get the greatest idea for a story. What if the spirit from someone who lived there is trying to communicate with us now, and they choose a random tourist to drag back into their time so they can fix something that's gone catastrophically wrong?
Okay, the idea is better than that, but that's the gist.
As as I'm climbing the ladder of death to get back to the top of the plateau, I start to think that in some ways, I am an archeologist.
I'm a writer.
I'm a fantasy and sci-fi writer. I take ideas and pictures in my head, and I flesh them out into an entire belief system, magic system, cultural issues and in some cases, an entire world. Sometimes beyond into a universe.
I have to ask myself the same questions that an archeologist does. That list above? I totally ask myself all of that. And then some.
And to me, that is some of the funnest part of the writing process. Creating a world out of a raw idea, and building a culture on a few key points that I want in a story, is both exciting and rewarding.
Heck, just look around your house, try to imagine you've never seen anything quite like it, and start to fill in the blanks. Which rooms did they live in? How many people lived per structure? Why is there an extra house at the end of the house? What lived in there? Did they worship these black screens? How did they communicate with their neighbors? What did they eat? How did they get food?
Writers have hard jobs!
But we also get to have a whole lot of fun. :)