Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Call Me Sherlock

Whether you do it at the beginning or throughout, you can't write a novel without completing some research. I'll admit, sometimes the mere thought of researching a topic turns me off from writing the story. Like most writers, story ideas hit me all the time, but very few of them stick after an initial mental outline. Do I really want to research 16th century pirates? Chinese politics of the 1800s? Studying abroad in South Korea? No, not really.

But sometimes the answer to my question is yes, which is why I currently have two novels outlined, and why I spent last Saturday shooting at the gun range. In my opinion, there's nothing better than first-hand experience when it comes to research. (Side note: I tried to have the same mindset yesterday while changing out a toilet, but no dice. Toilets are dirty, and I'm not planning on writing about one anytime soon.)

As for researching my novels, I'm not about to sit in on an autopsy or anything like that, but I have talked to a detective or two, and one of my husband's friends has a degree in mortuary science and is always willing to answer my morbid questions. I couldn't write murder mysteries (even if they are cozies) without these folks. And thank goodness for the Internet! I use it for so much research. Just yesterday I researched the specs of a Bell 427 helicopter, the distance from Savannah, GA to Meadowbrook, AL, and the recipe for a moisturizing mud mask (did I mention they were beauty cozies?). In the future I hope to take part in conference or two to learn even more. Moving to PA and being closer to the east coast should help, geographically at least.

Okay, back to research for me. Can any of you tell I'm excited to be writing again?


Shannon O'Donnell said...

Mud masks and helicopters and gun ranges...oh, my. It sounds like you are having way too much fun! :-)

Holly Rutchik said...

Your blog really is a great one for the writing journey because you are so true when it comes to the mood of a wrtier. You get school girl excited and discouraged and I LOVE it. That is the writing life.
I just read an essay in the O magazine about a writer who sat in on an open heart surgery. It was amazing - but I don't think I could do it!

Steph Damore said...

I am Shannon. This is why I love writing so much!

Steph Damore said...

Thanks Holly, that means a lot. I try to be true to my feelings on the blog. Writing really is a roller coaster ride.

As for the heart surgery, I couldn't do it. I close my eyes when it's even on t.v. No real-life OR for me.

Voidwalker said...

You do sound excited, which makes me excited to write, which hopefully makes a lurker, reading this comment, excited to write...


Speaking of Lurkers, she did it :(
Writing Roller Coasters is no more... I'm so bummed.

Steph Damore said...

I know! I was totally bummed yesterday when I went to check out her blog. Oh Diana, I will miss your posts so much!