I had a pretty strong idea of the traits of the various aliens. I knew the Cara’ot were master traders, and genetic engineers. I knew the Isanjo were functionally high steel workers, the Flutes are highly skilled in mathematics. Truthfully I cheated a bit though I’m going to have to address this in book four since I have an alien view point character. Because the aliens are a conquered people their own religions, cultural norms, etc. have been suppressed by their human rulers. Most of them claim to worship human gods, particularly the Christian god, they don’t have to accept the limits female participation in business because they are considered less than, but in most ways they try to ape their conquerors. It’s just safer that way.
In an Udippi, the water is right there. On every table. Mostly in a steel glass. Take a sip and you’re glass is instantly refilled. You can even share a table with a stranger.
Unlike the hi-fi restaurant, the menu here is more like a familiar neighbour. Even the most bizarre sounding dosa won’t startle you when it arrives. You’ll get your order within minutes. And soon before you take your last bite and burp, your bill arrives. So you’re spared the trouble of calling for a cheque, which in here would still mean a piece of paper used for banking transactions.
My methods can’t be summarized because they’re organic and vary enormously from review to review. Some articles essentially write themselves: Some connection is made, some inspiration found, some metaphor dictates the flow, and the whole emerges fundamentally in its final form in anything from 20 to 40 minutes (that’s for a 900-word article, and I’m not a fast typist). Others are grueling: I need to seek half a dozen sources to cite and from which to add images, the information I’m presenting has to be checked and cross-checked with sources on both sides of the issue, and the resulting 3,000-word draft article must then be condensed to fit the space available; in such cases, an article may require several hours, but the result is often of such worth that those who read it are moved to commend my efforts, and — for me, anyway — that is enough to justify them.