Writer’s Life of Research

Good day to be a writer, don’t you think? I know NaNoWriMo is around the corner and lots of people are vigorously preparing for the onslaught, ahem… process. My life, unfortunately, is filled to the brim with research, editing, formatting, rewriting, and writing, among other life adventures, that I am not participating in November’s 50,000 words. However, for those of you that are, I wish you the very best in your November adventure!

For me, daily life consists of, well, writing. Of course, I write a little, but my mainstay of writing is the research. Tons of hours go into research, and I’m not ashamed to say it. Studious as a college freshman, I read, highlight, take notes and inspect pictures to the ‘nth’ degree before ever putting pen to paper or typing like the wind on the keyboard. Some writers plan every nitty gritty detail of each chapter using excel spreadsheets, and that’s great if it works for you! Alas, it’s not for me.

So, what’s my plan for writing? Glad you asked;-) I’m more of a fly by the seat of my pants with a skeletal outline of the beginning, middle and end. Of course, I throw in notes for the parts between the beginning and middle/middle to the end, but that’s it. I write, edit, rewrite, edit, so on and so forth until the inner instinct kicks in, telling me it’s ready to publish. However, this post is more about my love of research. So…

For me, research is key to elevating a good book to a great one. Sure, it takes loads of time. Sure, it can seem cumbersome and slow down the time it takes between published books, but it’s my cup of tea, and I’m sticking to it. For instance, right now, I’m writing my second in a series beginning with The Protectorate. Globe trotting and running head first into trouble, my main character Anna never had it so bad  good;-) Since her travels take her to the likes of Austria, Argentina and Germany, among others, I get to research these wonderful places and put Anna through the ringer either in a rainforest, museum or war memorial. It allows my mind the ability to create with an ease I’d never have without all the research.

You see, I’m one of “those” people who can’t write without knowing a little about the places my characters visit. While I don’t have to be spot on, I’d like to be as accurate as possible, and until I’ve made enough money to travel to those far away places, I’ll have to settle for second hand accounts of places my characters visit. Of course, I use google, but I also read countless books on historical places and speak to people who’ve been to some of these places. Pictures from trips are a treasure trove of information as well. It’s important to utilize all sources when writing.

In my second book, Anna travels to Germany, and I’ve had the pleasure of reading up on the culture, museums and places to visit. One such place I’ve stumbled upon is the Wilhelm Kaiser War Memorial in Berlin. Snug in the center of shopping and hotels, this museum has a history that compelled me to write it into the second of my series. I’ve spent days on learning the structural aspects of this restored church, architecture and history before ever putting pen to paper. Even after all the research, I find myself wanting to know even more about it’s history, and this is why I love the writer’s life. Folks, we get paid to dream, and research is a huge part of that for me.

kaiser-wilhelm-memorial-church-36

Photo credit: Thomas Favre-Bulle

 

Is researching a must in writing? No, but I’d be lost without it. So, off I go into the world of researching and writing, and who knows? Maybe one of these days, I’ll visit a place close to your home;-)

I love to hear from you! Has anyone visited the Wilhelm Kaiser War Memorial in Berlin? Where else have you gone that’s stuck inside your memory banks forever? Comment or send me a message, and please, whatever you do, keep reading!

Happy reading/writing,

KD

Advertisements

Indie Author Love

According to Amazon, October is the month to celebrate indie authors, and we writers are to share why we decided to go the route of self-publishing. While each author writes for various reasons, so too do we publish according to our own wants, desires and beliefs. Regardless of which way we choose, we all share the same goal of making an impact in the writing world.

Traditional publishing has always been touted as “making it” in the writing world, but with the advent of Amazon, we no longer must wait for those form letters telling us “Thank you,” but “No, thank you.” Our dreams need not be shattered with letter after letter of rejection. Instead, we studiously write, our fingers flying over the  keyboards or cramping under the strain of pen to paper for hours on end. We edit and rewrite knowing there’s somewhere for us to achieve a dream.

Self-publishing opened doors that were permanently rusted shut for the vast majority of writers until the likes of Amazon, Kobo, Apple and many others declared, “Come one, come all who write. We have a place for you!” Millions of writers flocked, and still flock, to upload their cover designs, copyright pages, dedications and tear stained manuscripts. We clinch our jaws and fidget in our chairs for eons, inching our index fingers ever forward towards the ‘enter’ button that would load our books onto the internet for all to see.

Sure, the odds are stacked against us, and our sales may forever be severely less than desired, but it’s the dream, the possibility of reaching the masses that compels us onward.  My journey has been fraught with ups and downs, and I soldier on. Life happens, loved ones get ill, bills must be paid, and yet we writers still keep going. Do some fall by the wayside with the enormity of our task? Absolutely. The researching, world building, editing, rewriting, formatting, and feedback could make anyone want to run for the hills, and some do. Lots of people give up for many valid reasons, and there’s no shame in that. This world is not for the faint of heart.

So, why do we do it? Why do we go the route of indie publishing? Why do we put all of our eggs in that basket knowing the majority fail? All great questions. While I can’t answer for everyone else, I can tell you my reasons.

Growing up in a military family and moving around lots as a child, I greeted many schools and new faces. One of the constants in my life that never changed, though, was books. The library was my sanctuary, no matter what town/city we moved to. Books don’t judge; they welcome. They are friends, sometimes best friends, when everything else falls apart.

Don’t get me wrong, my childhood wasn’t terrible. Moving around meant leaving friends behind and forced me to adapt to changing environments. I believe it helped make me a good storyteller.

I’ve always wanted to write books, but up until recently it wasn’t a real option. I choose to be an indie author because I like to control the process. I no longer need someone else’s acceptance to publish to the masses. It’s incredibly difficult to get a publishing company to take notice, and time is of the essence. I wish to publish on my own terms, and I’ll take the hardships that go with it. Yeah, it’s a TON of work, but hard work always pays off.

Will I ever be successful at writing? Yes! I’m already successful. So, for now, I choose to self-publish, and I applaud all writers in whichever way they choose to publish. As for me, you can find me on my blog with WordPress, twitter and google. I’ve even ventured into Pinterest.

I’d love to hear your stories of which publishing path you’ve taken. Please feel free to message me or comment below!

Many thanks to all the storytellers out there! You can and do make a difference;-)

 

Happy reading/writing! #PoweredByIndie

K.D.