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

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2 thoughts on “Writer’s Life of Research

  1. I agree that research is key. Even though I knew my subject matter intimately, in order to add key detail and understand the societal changes around my characters, I dug read though older social media posts and reached out to experts. This gave me concrete dates for events and ensured the order of my memory was correct. Even a detail such as when a TV show aired is important as an astute reader will catch that Dr. Phil was not a show in 1988. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

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