Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Your Research, Doing

I probably am not the most qualified person for this post.

Well, actually, I'm very qualified for this topic of writing either. A seventeen year old girl, write for a whole month about how to write and aspects of writing?! Who isn't even published? Yeah, right, what could she know?

Maybe some of my opinions are "wrong" when it comes to writing. I definitely don't have the most experience on the block. But I have been writing ever since I could. I've found things out through trial and error and the advice of other writers. This all is what works for me, what I've found to be true.

So here is a little more me and my writing experience.

I have never actually had to do research for a book.  Hence my unqualification. Which wasn't a word until now. Congrats, you saw first here, folks!

I probably should have for one of my novels (about a spy), but that never happened. Probably why that novel is now sitting somewhere in hard-drive space. Another one I should have done took place in LA, where I certainly have never been. That MS is keeping the other one company, equally as covered with virtual dust.

What I'm getting at is that not doing your research can cost you your novel.

I am famous for "Oh, I'll just keep going and I can fix it later" when something isn't working out. I'll plow right through the problems and patch up the holes later. Sometimes that's good. Sometimes it isn't. When it comes to research, it isn't.

Correction: I haven't had to research until a couple of weeks ago.

My WIP requires a lot of research because it has to do quite a bit with a lawyer, and I'm really unfamiliar with court and law stuff (see, I don't even know the correct terms). Research kind of scares me, to be honest. I would much rather work on my fairy tale where I just have to make everything up. Oh well, it's just something that's got to be done.

When I research, the first place I go to is Pinterest. There's some awesome infographics there and I can save it all in one place. Then onto other areas of the Internet. I haven't really used any books, just because I've found everything I've been looking for online.

I record the information in my binder for the current WIP. I'm a sucker for handwriting out my outlines and research, but I do sometimes save the websites to go back to later. When I remember to =)

How do you do research?


  1. Hi, Anne! Thanks for dropping by and visiting my blog. <3 I love your post here along with your frank honesty. I remember writing my first ever novel when I was exactly your age. I thought it was cheesy and set it aside. Then, when I was about 19, I pulled it back out and finished it when I was 25! I wrote it longhand in loose-leaf.

    It was high fantasy, so world-building was fun and I didn't do research for this one! This was before I became familiar with the rules of writing (research here). Now that I am seasoned (lol), I cringe at all my novice mistakes, but I still love the story-line!

    I used to hate research (before I dared outside my comfort fantasy genre zone) and now, I love LOVE it. I learn SO much from it and instill bits and pieces here and there throughout my stuff.

    I've had a harsh wake up call from my fantasy stupor: I took my first published book (paranormal romance) to a distributor and he told me that it was not marketable. He told me that I needed to write outside the fantasy genre to make it. Both hurtful and valuable advice. I learned how to write realistic fiction (which does require an amount of research).

    I've written several books outside fantasy since and have flourished! My lesson learned is that I need to give myself permission to be accepting so that I can grow. And I have. <3

    (I've gone from fantasy--elves, dragons, sorceresses, witches and vampires--to rockstars, musketeers, pregnant teenagers and kidnappers.) What a ride! :D

    Elizabeth Mueller
    AtoZ 2015
    My Little Pony

    1. Thank you for taking the time for such wonderful comments, Elizabeth! I love hearing about other people's writing journeys. Looking forward to journeying with you in the future!

  2. Even unpublished writers are still writers! Keep at it:) I love research. I'm always looking things up. I do a little research at first for the first draft, whether it's about the setting, the technology, the events... Then after I've written and edited, I double fact check and research more to deepen the story:)

    1. Smart, smart. Thanks for commenting, Jennifer!

  3. When you're a writer you can never do too much research. You research writing, editing, publishing, topics for stories, people, place, and the list goes on and on.

    I also hand write my research. I put it in a notebook where I will also begin the story...I do more hand writing than sitting at the computer to write.

  4. It is hard to stop writing when you have the story pushing you forward. In those instances I write a quick outline of my thoughts and where I wanted to go and then check if that is what would really happen or if there is such a location, etc.

    I have been running across this a lot in my story about a divorce. If I had kept going with my story the way I wanted to write it it would have been legally inaccurate and I would have had to scrap all that work so it was best to stop and do the research. The research can be fun and has brought my story in directions, better directions, than without the research.

    My divorce story is irking my husband because he doesn't 100% buy in that it is all research for the book. He's never questioned other research but this one is a bit touchy for him. You would think after 23 years he would be secure in our relationship. It just means I do some little extra things to show him how committed I am and how much I love him. Which works out great for me too!

    1. Hahaha, oh boy! Yes, I've had to look up some, er, shall we say, questionable things (how to hide a dead body, teen pregnancy clinics, etc) that definitely have worry potential. Congrats on 23 years!

  5. Research is huge for a writer! I once called a fire station for information, I look things up online, and I'm fortunate to have brothers with both military and medical backgrounds so I ran things past them as well when the need arose!

  6. I'm off to a cemetery for research next week :-) I'm really looking forward to it - it has a lot of history apparently. I tend not to write much that needs researching - I kind of write what I know, and guess the rest - but sometimes it's unavoidable.