Wednesday, July 3, 2013

IWSG-Research Mayhem

Welcome to another fabulous month of IWSG. A place where writers gather to offer support for all those many insecurities we all face in this crazy world of publishers, critiques and reviews.

I'll admit, June was a fairly productive month for me. I wrote six chapters on a new work-in-progress, joined a couple writing groups (a big step forward for me) and have tried to be a more diligent online buddy to others (If I really failed here, please don't tell me). I only have one small burr poking at me at the moment.

(Yes, this word needs to be capitalized and in bold type with how big of a headache it has been.)
You fabulous writers and authors have probably long ago mastered this particular beast, but I am still struggling  to tame it. (I will prevail!)

Research is a double-edged sword (quill?) in the writing world. Too much and you never get around to writing. (My problem. I can spend hours and days on learning awesome new facts.) Too little and, well, your have unhappy, disappointed readers. (Also a problem. I get sidetracked just learning and don't know how to incorporate what I learn seamlessly into my tale.)

So with stacks of books teetering on my desk, online searches and raids on my local library, I attempt to be an expert on all my characters likes, dislikes and hobbies. Then forget half of what I studied when it comes time to write and have to re-research all of it again in order to a make my story more "realistic". 

I get fleshing your story and characters out with details is important, but at what point is enough, you know, enough. 

How can I be a doctor, chemist, sports car enthusiast, animal whisperer and far too many roles to name, all contained in one person? (Talk about multiple personality disorder.)

I've found if I know a little bit about a lot of things, my characters are more well-rounded. But I still haven't learned how to research effectively and actually incorporate what I learn into my story without it being obvious that I just inserted a random fact. (Open mouth and out spills text quote.)

Time to dive back into the pile. Historian, there is another role to add to the writer's list of requirements. I know, it just keeps growing. 

Good luck!

How do you handle balancing research and writing? Any tips for more effective use of research?


  1. For me, research is like a Siren's call too. So seductive, so alluring.
    And what a time suck!

    When I sincerely need to research something, I set a timer and keep myself to the limit. Otherwise, I start off looking for a man's name in the Celtic language and end up doodling around in a daisy field in Africa. (don't ask)

    CD Coffelt ponders at Spirit Called
    And critiques at UnicornBell

    1. A timer is a brilliant idea! Thanks! Don't worry I complete understand the doodling around in a a daisy field in Africa. ;) Soo much to learn and discover, so little time.

  2. I think the key is layering. You write your draft then revise it, then send it out to critique partners (other more experienced writers) who will tell you what you're lacking. Then you add another layer and do it all over again. These layers will make your story rich and textured. As for research, don't sweat the small stuff. Just make sure your setting is accurate and the technical aspects are true. It will all fall into place.

    I'm a new follower and one of Alex's minions for this month's IWSG. Nice to meet you!

    1. Nice to meet you, Nancy! The layers sound like an awesome way to approach things. I just have to remind myself it doesn't have to be perfect the first time around. Thanks!

      Good luck with your writing!


Thanks for your awesome support!