Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Writer's Wisdom Wednesdays


I’m sure you’ve heard or read about the popularity of choosing one word to describe a person’s hopes for the coming year. I did that for the first time and chose possible—“With God all things are possible.” I’ve already seen a few of those “possible things” in my 2013. Having the opportunity to join the Seriously Write team is one of them.

We’re dubbing this day of the week Writer’s Wisdom Wednesdays. Um…no, the wise writer is not me—too much pressure. Though I may throw in an occasional tidbit of experience, my plan is to present you with advice from other writers…some multi-published and some, like me, still looking for that first contract. I’ll ask our colleagues specific questions aimed at some aspect of the writing process so they can share their skills in the area. The first Wednesday of each month will be dedicated to research, the second marketing, the third creativity, and the fourth organization and business.

The goal is to learn something useful from those who have been through the experience or have a special ability. For example, on February 13, a marketing day, Nicole Miller will talk about boards and pins on Pinterest. Nicole is one of my critique partners and my go-to girl when I have crazy questions about my blog, Facebook, etc. She’s ready, willing and able (as well as patient) to answer my queries.

Okay, since this is, technically, a research day, I'll start off by asking you this question. What do you find most difficult about the process of research when it comes to your book?

For me, it's worrying over whether or not my research is complete. Did I find the right information? For instance, in my current WIP, my hero is trying to set up a newspaper office in 1885. I searched for days for just the right press for that man and his economic circumstances, finally settling on a Washington Hand Press. Was it the best choice for him? Based on my research, I think so. Ah, but
that nasty little word niggles its way into my worry box...think

What about research niggles its way into your worry box? 

Do you have a topic you would like to see covered in the future? Is there something you need help with such as cramming all you have to do into one twenty-four hour period? (Raising my hand here!)  Whatever it is, let's share ideas each Wednesday.  




13 comments:

  1. I think my biggest research issue is knowing when to stop. I'm very visual, so I need lots of images to help me imagine my scenes, but sometimes I worry that I'm using research to procrastinate.

    Just like your printer's press -- how did you know when to settle on that one and stop looking?

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    1. I'm like you, Angie, a visual person and hands on, which is difficult for a historical writer. :-)

      Frankly, I narrowed it down to two choices and felt either one would do, but I found a YouTube video that showed the Washington Hand Press in action--that visual thing again--and decided to go with it.

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  2. Sending you a huge welcome hug, Sandy! I love the title of your day and how you came up with it.

    YouTube videos are great, but online research isn't as much fun as actual, getting-out-there research. For my current wip, I toured a llama farm. Talk about FUN!

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    1. Thank you, Dora!

      A llama farm...talk about mixing business with pleasure! I'm sure you took photos and got those sensory details that are necessary. You'll be able to describe what it feels like to touch the animal, what they smell like, etc. Good for you! And good for your reader!

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  3. Welcome, Sandy! For me, I've shied away from certain projects for fear of the amount of research they'd require. But every project requires some, so that excuse could keep me from writing, if I let it. So, I don't. :)

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    1. I've done the same type of thing, Annette. I feel very inadequate when it comes to writing something that requires a lot police procedural knowledge. Fortunately, there are online groups with experts available for pretty much any genre.

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    2. We have so many convenient tools (especially the internet) now that writers before us didn't have. I'm grateful for that!

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  4. Welcome, Sandy!

    I just finished polishing my first historical romance. Previously, I'd always focused on writing contemporaries, so research for this story was quite different.

    What I find most daunting is the amount of time I can spend looking for one piece of information. Sometimes I can't find it, and other times, I'm unsure if it fits the exact year. My story takes place in 1902. Some of the info I've found is vague, and I can't tell for sure if it applies to 1902 or later. It also depends on the region, etc.

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    1. Ahh...historical romance...love it, Dawn!

      One of my favorite sources for research is Google books. You can plug in keywords and narrow your search to fit the time frame. It's been said that we should have three sources of verification about something. That isn't always easy or possible to do.

      It's also a good idea to check word usage for your time period on a site like entymonline.com. You'd be surprised how many words and phrases were not used in 1902, or how many were.

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  5. Great topic, Sandy! Working on a 3-book historical romance series, I've done more research in the past year or two than ever before. Since all the stories are set in Hot Springs, Arkansas, I was fortunate to discover the wealth of information--along with several extremely helpful volunteers--at the local historical society. I only had a few hours to spend there, but I could easily have spent weeks poring over their materials!

    For me, the most difficult part of research is when I need one VERY specific detail that I just can't find anywhere. I hate simply making something up, because what if I'm way off base and someone (the lone expert out there who happens upon my book) actually notices!

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  6. I understand, Myra. The idea of getting something wrong and being called on it is terrifying.

    One of things I really enjoy about reading novels is learning something new, so accuracy in our writing is very important. But I think we have to realize it's highly possible we'll fail in that area at some point.

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  7. Howdy all, I love doing research. I guess because I always loved history. And finding an unusual tidbit is just way fun. I try as hard as I can to be accurate and keep things within the dates they were actually found, but I'm human, and I do write fiction so hopefully if I mess up, a reader gets that LOL.

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    1. Hi, Tanya! I think the average reader will be forgiving of a rare goof. So glad you like the research!

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