...yeah, you know it...if you know me at all, and you do. You totally do.
The Dreaded R-word = Research.
Kat asked these questions (She must hate me or something.): How do you do research for your settings, your story and your characters' quirks? What interesting tidbits about yourself and the world you live in have you learned along the way? (Michelle answered them before me, and Annie will talk it out tomorrow.)
Oh crap. My secret is out. I, uh, don’t "do" research, just like I don't "do" running and stuff like that. Well, if big dogs are involved, I can move pretty fast. Otherwise? No running.
I actually dislike researching so much I break out in hives if I have to do it. So you wanna know how I research for my settings and story and quirks? *whispers* I make them up. I might pick a place (the setting) that could be anywhere. Then I don’t have to know street names and stuff. I’m writing a novel right now that requires the characters to go to the beach. So I know it’s in California. But I don't know what city. I don't care what city. The setting is not that integral that I need to know what city. Or the name of the high school. And if I did, I'd simply make them up.
I did need the name of a beach. So I asked my friend Christine for sweet beach in SoCal. Research, over and out.
Seriously, the book I’m querying right now? Dystopian. Setting = made up (Well, okay, I know where it takes place in the US. But the "country" is made up. I do have to know the terrain and stuff, but I already did. No research required). Research = very little.
Story = made up. Research = very little.
Character quirks = made up. Research = very little.
My stories require very little research because I don’t write what I don’t know. For example, I have to know how long a sunburn takes to heal, but that can come from my real life knowledge. If there is something I don't know, like what symptoms someone would have coming off inhalants, I just ask someone smarter than me. (Thanks Carolyn!) Another reason I think I can get away with minimal research is because I write speculative fiction. You know, with magic and powers and made up places. Thus...I can make stuff up!
Most of the research I do for characterization comes from watching people. I carry a 6 x 9-inch notebook in my purse. When I see some guy at the post office wearing a cool hat, I write it down. I jot down notes about people I know. Like, my BIL talks in his sleep. A lot. So I put that in a novel. I've gushed over people's names in the grocery store and stuff. It's a bit embarrassing, but Walter-the-checkout-guy liked it. I know he did.
What have I learned about myself? That I’m lazy? Ha ha!
But seriously, I think there's something to be said for writing what you know. Sure, I could research 17th Century England (if I wanted to die) and then I would "know" about 17th Century England. I just choose not to, cuz I am not a fan of the R-word.
What about you? Firmly camped in Research Central? Love the stuff? Hate it? How do you do research for your settings, your story and your characters' quirks? What interesting tidbits about yourself and the world you live in have you learned along the way?
Am I really lazy? Wait. Don't answer that.