Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Research ups and downs

One of the ways I research for my fiction writing is to read biographies/autobiographies of people in the same profession as my characters. For example, half of my first novel takes place on a modern-day working cattle ranch. My shelves are full of books detailing this way of life. I also subscribed to (and still read) various magazines related to ranching. But there's nothing like hearing about a profession in the first person. It's learning by immersion, mostly. I came to a point where I could imagine my settings based solely on photographs and descriptions, and my character's voices came naturally because I truly understood what they would be thinking.

For settings, there's nothing like visiting in person. However, I believe it IS possible to learn about a setting from your armchair.

One potential danger with research is to never start the writing because you're so consumed with researching. You must start writing, sometimes even when you don't feel you have enough research. During the process of writing questions will arise, and that's when you go searching for a specific answer. Often the best way to find an answer is to pool your friends. One of them will probably know somebody who will know the answer.


Christina Berry said...

I just wanted to thank you for your comments on the Novel Journey Critique. (I've waited a while so I wouldn't skew the opinions.)

Since the dust has settled, I blogged about it today. I hope, since you were interested in the selection, that you might stop by and subscribe to my newsletter. Then I can let you know when it gets published!

Again, thank you for taking the time to comment and being so kind! I see you every now and then over at shoutlife, "friend." ;-)

Christina Berry said...

Ah, very nice. You are the first to verbalize the feeling that there is more than an affair involved. Thanks for stopping by!