10/21/15

Bill Wetterman Day 2


Thank you, Julie. Allowing me five days to teach on constructing a novel will be a
great benefit to our readers. I appreciate the time. For those who select speakers or
trainers for writers’ conferences, I love to present before groups. Contact me at
bwetterman@cox.net, if you have those opportunities. And remember, I’m giving
away three free e-books of Yellowstone-A Fall From Grace to the first three
readers who e-mail agreeing to review the book on Amazon and Goodreads and
identify your blog as their source.

                          The Joy of Research—Building the World of Yellowstone

Research takes up a minimum of two months with every novel I write. I can’t
skimp on it. The public will read this book, and if I have a road in the wrong place,
my credibility goes out the window.

To predict what will happen in the present, I have to know what happened in the
past. My study of the Huckleberry Ridge, Mesa, and Lava Creek ash bed, plus
minor eruptions effected only a few thousand square miles indicates that the
Yellowstone super-volcano erupts every 600,000 years. The last major eruption
was 640,000 years ago. Scientist vary in opinion, but it isn’t if, but when will it
explode again.

Scary isn’t it.

Modeling ash fall distribution from a Yellowstone super eruption—Larry G. 
Mastin, Alexa R. Van Eaton, Jacob B. Lowenstern, first published August 27,
2014 gave me the data to project what would happen if Yellowstone erupted in
October, rather than January, April, or July. To build the worse possible conditions
with winter coming. (Geologists read my novel as part of my beta readers to assure
I struck to the facts.)



                                             External Tension

The explosion, the weather, and the resulting devastation add to the external
tension that opens the novel. Where is the jet stream when the volcano blows?
Important. If the jet stream is dripping down into Texas, the resulting ash plume
will cover the ground farther south.

I set the story in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Tulsa sits in an area where winds aloft can
come from almost any direction and swing up toward the Great Lake in winter—a
great place to set this thriller.

                                               Reality for the Reader

So what would happen in your area, if Yellowstone exploded this month with the
force it has in the past? Are you interested, curious, reasonable frightened?
Actually, dying from the initial explosion might be better than living.

In Yellowstone-A Fall From Grace, the East and West Coasts receive only a
dusting of ash, most likely less than a 1/16th of an inch. But the air will be polluted
enough to cancel air traffic. Within hours, the electrical grid will fail due to
overuse and contamination.

Measureable amounts between a 1/8 of an inch to a ½ inch fall as far west and
south as Cincinnati, Knoxville, and Dallas. But Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis,
Little Rock, Tulsa, Amarillo, and Las Vegas could receive ash fall well over and
inch and up to four inches.

Farther north and west, the real destruction occurs. Between a foot to several feet
of ash could fall on Kansas City, Minneapolis, Rapid City, Denver, Cheyenne,
Boise, Salt Lake City, and Albuquerque. The farther west in this area, the quicker
the death toll will rise. Cars will be unable to drive. Without a gas mask, air
particulates will fill the lungs. Millions in this area will eventually die.

Ground zero. Missoula, Great Falls, Billings, Pocatello, Idaho Falls, and Casper
will have total devastation within minutes or hours.

                                                    The Fallout

I’ve spent two months researching and creating the world that will be. What will
the characters I drop in the middle of this situation face? In Tulsa, due to a
snowstorm the ash is under a ½ inch, pesky, but survivable. Now I have to develop
the human conflicts created for the survivors. Two-thirds of the farmland is
unusable. Trucks can’t deliver goods. Airplanes can’t fly. Only select sources of
electricity are available. Oh, and did I mention, looting, rioting, and murder occur
immediately. It’s a dog-eat-dog world.
But that’s for our next blog posts.

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