This month of daily writing advice will include tidbits, tips, and sometimes tricks. This isn’t a replacement for editing or book coaching, it’s meant as a jumping off point for exploration and thought! I hope it helps! ~Amy
RESEARCHING WHILE YOU’RE WRITING
In the comments the other day, Gillian asked how I integrate research into my writing process. Do I do it before, during, or after?
The answer is D. All of the above.
My first three novels required minimal research as contemporary novels set in places I’d lived or created. I certainly Googled along the way so details were accurate. And yes, I would step out of my story to research as I wrote. Did that result in some detours? Most definitely, but the immediacy worked for me as I built the story.
My fourth novel was a horse of a different color (10 points if you get the reference. Points redeemable for, well, nothing).
THE LAST BATHING BEAUTY required (requires) a significant amount of research. I started with cursory searches online, and then traveled several times where I collected memories, took photos, conducted interviews, and purchased items that would remind me of my trip. I then purchased books online, and with each book I spent time reading, highlighting, and note-taking. All this was while I was developing my story, mostly in my head. I felt I needed an education to start writing this book.
But I continued compiling research as I wrote — and took many detours to find it. I set up folders on my laptop as well as Pinterest boards, since collecting photos was most helpful to me.
I loved having access to a clothing catalog (a PDF which I purchased online) while I was writing. The time it took to find that catalog served me well, since I can access it while I’m writing to “choose” clothing for one of my characters in 1951.
I’m in the revision process now, and while I may have thought my research was done, I still double-check things, and am busy polishing and adding additional details.
My next novel will require ample research as well. My plan (should I get the go-ahead) would be to research as I create a working outline.
Hope that helps in giving you an idea for researching your own novel. My best advice is to start with what you think you’ll need most, and keep adding!
SEE YOU TOMORROW!