Sunday, November 24, 2013

~ Research ~

            'Tell the readers a story! Because without a story, you are merely
             using words to prove you can string them together in logical
                                                       -Anne McCaffrey

True Story: Someone asked me while holding my book 'Back to Austen' in their hands and  reading the back blurb, "Is this a story about you?."
My somewhat dumbfounded answer was "Well let's see, since it's about a young woman who falls through time and lands in 1815 England.....I'd have to say....NO?"

The first and often best advice a fresh faced writer will receive from other authors or professionals is;

Write About What You Know.

Well that's all well and good, but let us remember that I was writing a story about a young woman who falls through time and lands in 1815 England !!!!!
Although I certainly have no first hand experience with Time Travel, I have a secret weapon at my disposal to find out everything else I needed to know before sitting down to actually write my story. Perhaps not so secret. After all, it's a tool that most writers embrace and is ultimately a writers best friend,.

Yes. Some might say the boring stuff. But not me. Research brings you in touch with your character's world. This is not only important when writing period dramas, but where ever or when ever your story takes place. Now of course if you're writing a fantasy and you are building a world from scratch ......lucky for you. But for the rest of us, the setting must ring true.

So even though I have been steeping away like a little tea bag in the Regency Era Tea for more years than I care to admit; I still had a lot of research to do. And I firmly believe there is nothing like the authentic flavor that flows naturally into your story just from the fact that you did your homework.

For this particular book I wanted the setting to be a real town in England. Streatham, turned out to be the perfect match. So when Kate is transported to Streatham, there is real history, there are real landmarks. There would be world events that would naturally be part of conversations, and customs of the period that would be part of their everyday lives. My goal was to be accurate without the historical details driving the story. 

But the last thing you want is to have your character set off on some adventure or talking about something that didn't yet exist in their time.Your beloved reader may just slam the book in your face at that point. 

For me, research is the 'getting to know you' period that I enter into with my characters. Although it's easy to sometimes feel as if you're getting bogged down in the minutiae, don't let it overwhelm you.

 There is no need to rush the relationship. Getting to know someone takes time. I love the entire process from start to finish.

So now if you'll please excuse me, while I fall through time.........I have some research to do. 

1 comment:

  1. I really, really love the comparison you made between "falling in love" with your characters and your real-life relationships. That is excellent advice and advice I need to keep in mind more. I get impatient! Like in real life, you can't rush a good thing...or a good character. From what I've read of you so far, you are putting that into good practice! Love this blog and I appreciate today's advice! Excellent!


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