Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Thurber House: Day Sixteen (What's the Caloric Value of Human Blood?)

Last night I stayed up very late working out the specifics of the city that will form the primary location for the new project. I'm really proud of it, and it includes a very crude map. Generally,  I prefer to have a cartographer work on a map or maps while I'm writing, but this project is something new, and I want to make sure it doesn't change before committing to that. I started drawing on paper, but I'm hopeless at cartography. I'm not home, so I don't have any good art programs with me. Instead, I somehow managed to make a map good enough to help me visualize things just by drawing with shapes and colored text boxes in Pages. I wish I could show you, but that would be a huge spoiler. One day, when I have a professionally drawn map for the city I might do a side by side comparison.

The world building / research continued this morning with what became a really interesting discussion on Facebook. I had a question and it occurred to me the Hive Mind might be able to help. So, right before eating breakfast, and hoping to get at least an answer or two, I posted:
Lou Anders12 hrsHas anyone every done a study of how large a population is needed to sustain one vampire? How often does a vampire need to feed? Does the victim have to die? I'm trying to come up with a metric that will tell me that a city of x size could sustain y number of vampires.
An hour later, I decide to see if anyone has answered. And wow have they! I get responses ranging from what the best ratio of victims to general population is necessary in order for a vampire to maintain secrecy, to discussion of the problem of the conservation of mass when shape-shifting, to thoughts on blood as a food source, to actual theoretical studies on the spread of a zombie contagion conducted by the CDC, to information on the caloric value of blood. That's 3,500 calories in 1.2 pounds of blood by the way, just in case you're curious. And did you know that vampire bats have a unique membrane lining their stomachs to prevent their digesting too much iron? Well, you do now. And so do I.

It was actually a really fascinating and informative discussion, and I'm grateful to everyone who took part. Though several people contacted me privately to ask just who my friends were that they were so informed about all this! But with some great input and some math, I have the answers and my project can roll along. (Also, the discussion won't die. We've passed 50 comments and still going. We need to drive a stake through its heart and kill it!)

But yeah, this is what a writer does. Last week it was researching medieval locks and their picking, and this week it's the caloric value of blood. Who knows what next week will bring?

Meanwhile, at the end of the afternoon I took my usual two hour walk around Columbus, where I was delighted to discover that The Book Loft has apparently sold out of all of the signed copies of Frostborn they put out this week. Never fear, however. They will have plenty more for my signing on the 15th though!

On the way back to Thurber House, I passed some weird faces on the wall in the private garden of some business or other. They reminded me of nothing so much as the hidden faces of David Bowie in Labyrinth. Inspiration for the book, perhaps? Time will tell.


Brendan Baber said...

I feel vaguely guilty for contributing to that thread.

Brendan Baber said...

P.S.: You were only counting primary posts; some of those spawned multiple reaction threads. I would bet the final tally was closer to 80 posts or so.

Brendan Baber said...

P.S.: You were only counting primary posts; some of those spawned multiple reaction threads. I would bet the final tally was closer to 80 posts or so.

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