Monday, March 7, 2011

Research


The Engineer and I have been trying to watch The Half Blood Prince for a month or more.  (What’s that you say?  The first half of Deathly Hallows is out too?  We’re desperately behind on the movie/tv watching thing.) We borrowed it from a friend and it’s been sitting on the desk.  Each time I think about watching it there is something else we immediately have to do.  Meanwhile I’m tempted to give it back to our neighbors unwatched just so they don’t worry about it. (I hate borrowing things for extended periods of time)  The only problem is I know she wants to talk to me about the differences between the movie and the book and I don’t think I could lie that convincingly.

It’s sort of like researching for my book.  Sometimes I’m in the groove and think I’ll get to that later I don’t want to interrupt the flow.  Sometimes I’m having so much fun researching I keep thinking I’ll get to the writing in a minute, then just like Harry Potter I find a month or more has passed and no visible work has been done.  Research (or crafting a new world) takes time and the more you know the better the world will be and the more believable the story.  However, If you don’t put the words down on paper there is no story.

Face it, no one can write only what they know.  Writers have to make stuff up.  Some writers spend as much time crafting or researching their world as they do writing the story.  So, when that bright shinny new idea beckons,  when you’re writing and you pause wondering if a certain scenario is true to life, when you’re revising and that word, phrase or description just doesn’t fit do you open explorer and research it right then?  Or do you put in brackets and come back to it later? 

2 comments:

  1. Speaking as someone who is a reformed 'goest-wither-the-road-takes-me' writer, I can honestly say that MOST of the time I compartmentailse my time so that when I do need to do research a portion of the day is research, (or thinking deep thoughts then researching) and the rest is life, writing-n-other stuff...

    ...otherwise I'd be researching all day, writing all night and burning out in about a month...

    ... a few decades ago it'd take me at least six months to burn out, but I can manage it over a weekend now .. that's progress for you!

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  2. I've been trying to compartmentalize my time and it's working pretty well until I get to a scene that I can't fudge and fill in later.

    I have found that my burn out depends a bit on what is going on in real life.

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