Iâ€™ve been thinking more about research lately. Five months ago I put all of the text books and journals away as I wanted to get my word count moving rather than get caught in character development hell. Now though I feel like I need to know more before I can improve my story. Iâ€™ve been reading lots of blogs and online forums to get a feel for how people would handle the situations that arise in my manuscript. I also work two days a week in an office that receives thousands of calls, each one different, each person with their own reason for calling, which gives me amazing access to a huge variety of people and their responses to a given situation. None of those situations relate to my characters, but the emotions people experience are similar and how they deal with those emotions and stressful situations varies greatly.
Yesterday as I was leaving work someone asked me if today was my writing day. A big fist pump as affirmation and they asked how many words I was likely to get out in a day. They were horrified at my response due to the low figure rather than a high one! â€˜What do you do all day then?â€™ was the next question.
â€˜Tomorrow itâ€™ll be research.â€™
â€˜Oh no, so stuck in the library all day then?â€™ I didnâ€™t comment that stuck in a library was my idea of heaven.
â€˜Iâ€™ve got a movie to watch and two other novels to read at home in my pjâ€™sâ€™.
My colleague looked awfully sceptical that I could call sitting at home in my pyjamas, watching movies and reading books â€˜workingâ€™. Just as a side note I havenâ€™t spent all day in my pjâ€™s although I have put my slippers back on!
This led me to think about other books Iâ€™ve read and what their research wouldâ€™ve involved. Now Iâ€™m sure all writers are familiar with the movie/book research but what about Joanne Harris? Did she get to live in a chocolaterie to really understand itâ€™s operation?! I listened to Andrew Croome talk at the Perth Writers Festival about his novel Midnight Empire, largely set in the desert outside of Las Vegas. That mustâ€™ve been a hideous research trip! As for Fifty Shades of Grey â€“ I havenâ€™t read it but from what Iâ€™ve heard of the subject matter Iâ€™m guessing the research mustâ€™ve been fun!!!
I think I might have to skip ahead from this book and start thinking about the next one so I can plan a trip. Maybe my character ends up stranded on a beach in the Maldives? With only a book and some chocolate to surviveâ€¦