Wednesday, October 07, 2015

IWSG Wednesday in Autumn, Yay!



IWSG
The awesome co-hosts for the October 7 posting of the IWSG will be TB Markinson, Tamara Narayan, Shannon Lawrence, Stephanie Faris, and Eva E. Solar!
 

I want to post today on writing this IWSG Wednesday, because that’s what’s on my mind. Sometimes I take a break during the editing phase of a WIP because I get to a point where I need to research the scene/part I’m working on to give it that “ring of believability/authenticity”. Here’s where it gets tricky. I LOVE LOVE LOVE research. Sometimes I wish that was all I had to do, like being someone’s research assistant! My first novel was over 700 pages because I was soooo in love with the results of my research I just had to add all those interesting (to me) bits in. My mentor was like, “Research Lover! You need to cut this word count by more than half.”
OH NO! That was a mountain to me, like Everest. No way could I cut that much. Yeah way. I did, and good thing too. Anyone who made it past the first chapter would have been bored to death.
Now when I research, I hunt until I find everything I think I might possibly need. I work in what—at first take—looks like will fit. Then I work 70% of it back out again.

Using Mary Burton’s  “One Draft at a Time” Checklist, I usually do this in Draft 3. Why not in the First Draft? Because I’m getting the story down and I need to know my characters before I put that much into setting, dialog, motivation, etc. I have also found that hunting for “people-in-the-know”, experts by any other name, is completely fascinating and a great way to meet new people.

So, that’s my little blip on the “writing” subject today.

What do you do when you want “believ-ability?” Have you met cool experts? How much time do you spend on research and do you put it in and take it out again? Do you hate it or love it?

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32 comments:

  1. I'm a history nut and everyone keeps telling me to write historical fiction, but I know I would become too bogged down with the research and I'd never write. I totally understand your dilemma, but glad you listened to the advice. Readers don't need to know every detail, but it's wonderful that you do.

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  2. Oooh gosh I'm first - and I don't have much to offer - never having been in that position. Mind you my posts could be reduced in size quite often ... sometimes I get them down - other times I hit the publish button. Though I realise you can't do that.

    Research - depends on what it is .. if it's historical, then it should be correct. But I've been caught out and I'm a Brit - then I find out new information .. that makes just as much sense, if not more so ... then I get in a right muddle - this usually when I'm giving a talk. I try and be sensible and as long as it fits with my basic knowledge - then that's done. But again - with a book .. it's somewhat different.

    Good luck - I don't waste my time researching ... is probably a good way of looking at it. Cheers and all the best - Hilary

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  3. I'm not too crazy about research unless it takes me on a "field trip." I visited local transitional housing for teens to add a more authentic quality to my homeless character in a novella series. My family and planned our entire vacation around visiting ghost towns so I could steep myself in the mood of it all. Those kinds of research are fun. Looking up dates and facts - not so much.

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  4. To do research I read, read, and read. Then I pull out only what I need to make what I write believable. So far there have been no complaints, but I know this could change at anytime. :-)

    Anna from Elements of Writing

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  5. It's always hard to judge the difference between what makes you happy when you write a book and what makes a reader happy when they read the book. You always assume they're one in the same until someone comes by and tells you differently.

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  6. Wow, that is a lot of research to get 700 pages haha most of mine is sci/fi so I only research some, I try not to get into the gobbly goop as that tends to confuse people anyway.

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  7. I do most of my researching online though the ideas are often inspired by things I see in real life or news I read about.

    Susan Says

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  8. Most of my stories don't need a lot of research, at least not yet. But I do love historical fiction and fiction set in other countries - or worlds. :)

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  9. I've never heard of the “One Draft at a Time” Checklist. I better do some research on that. :)

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  10. Ha! I don't mind getting away from editing to do research either. Or any of a thousand other things instead of editing. As you can probably tell, editing is hard for me. And cutting out everything you found during the research phase can be painful.

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  11. I've even been known to do research when I've finished the book. The little details should be right, and so I use the after writing time to do that sometimes.

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  12. Hi, my name is Eva and I'm a researchaholic... I love research too, and it's probably another one of the reasons (besides the ones you already know) that my WIPs are taking so long to finish. **Sighs**

    I try using real life scenarios and the personalities of people I know (close and encountered) to bring more believability to my stories. Thanks for visiting me earlier and remember - I HEART YOU!! Hugs. Eva, IWSG Co-host

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  13. When I'm going to need to write about things I don't know, I spend hours researching, mainly online, because I do want my story to be believable. Sometimes it's hard, though, to say enough is enough and stop researching and get back to writing. And I agree — once you've learned all this neat stuff, it's hard not to include all of it. It's a good thing we have those early readers to put the brakes on our enthusiasm.

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  14. I did a lot of research before writing my last book. I'd have to say ninety-five percent of what I learned about sea kelp never made it into the book. (I've since eased back down on research.)
    Although research assistant would be a good gig.

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  15. Like you, I love research! I've been blissfully digging into 19th-Century Scotland for my upcoming NaNo project. I like your comments about using the third draft...I know as I get started that there's no way to get the language, clothing, setting, etc., totally right. I feel like I have a good enough foundation to begin, but I will need to see where the story takes me before I flesh out all the details.

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  16. 700 pages? Wow! I get what you mean though. I love to research something for my book and like to add interesting tidbits in for readers who don't know about a certain subject or place. Figuring out what to cut can be tough, though. Beta readers can usually help with that.

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  17. I haven't written anything yet that required a whole lot of research, but it's amazing how many little things you still have to look up to make sure everything is authentic. I usually don't worry about that kind of stuff in the first draft, either. That's more about getting out all of the ideas. Figuring out all the tiny details can come later.

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  18. I used to do portions of the writing separate, but not anymore. I also used to do a ton of research in advance, but like you, I found I'd bog the story down with it. These days I immerse myself in the culture of what I'm writing (movies, books, pictures), and then go forward, putting place holders and researching extra tidbits while I go. Then only the pertinent details get pulled in.

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  19. I've been doing a lot more research lately. In the past week I've researched Victorian English aristocrats, indigenous American myths and Scooby Doo, all for the same story. I love writing.

    IWSG October

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  20. Research is one of my favorite things to do but deciding what to use of all that great information is sometimes difficult.

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  21. I'm impressed with all the research you do.

    I write middle grade fiction. I also have a middle grade daughter. So mostly I pay attention to what she is saying, doing, wearing... And I try to ease drop in the malls without being to creepy.

    It terms of technical or historical research, I have it is easy because I write in a modern setting and about places I know. I still have to research things like police procedures and the like though.

    I'll look for your work. Sounds like you put a lot into it.

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  22. I need to steal a bit of your research love. My stories always seem to lack it :)

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  23. I love research too. I'd be someone's research buddy :)

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  24. I can't tell you how much time I spend on research, but aside from searching through Google, I can get lost doing research in my second home, the library.

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  25. Ha-ha! I love research so much that I sometimes forget to write :)

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  26. The bad thing about research is one site leads to another and then another. Very interesting but not writing. It's hard picking out just the necessary bit of info to use.

    Best wishes,
    Diane
    IWSG #94

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  27. I love research and would love to be a research assistant! Great idea LOL.

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  28. Research is fascinating. I loved hearing about your process! So interesting. :)

    ~Jess

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  29. I love research, and can easily get sidetracked with it, so I've started writing past whatever needs the research (if I can) and just leaving myself a note to research it when writing time is done. It works, for the most part.

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  30. I'm not a big fan of research...I do most of it online! Can you imagine being a writer back before you had the Internet? Writers probably spent half their time tracking facts down!

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  31. I LOVE LOVE LOVE research! Over the weekend I cut down a tree (not a big one, but it was hard work) for research for my WIP. I've tried to make a fishing net from some trash and vines....I think research is one of the best parts of writing. :) Happy Researching!

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  32. I do the same thing with research--put too much in and then force myself to edit it out. It's just so darn interesting, but yeah, it can drag down the pace like mud.

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