Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Research


Research is a word that invokes different connotations and emotions depending on what you’re researching and where you are in your research.

For instance, if I’m at the beginning stage of my novel, I’m excited to dive in, thinking of everything I’m going to learn. Or if I’m in the middle of my research I might feel overwhelmed with all the information I need to read before I can start writing—and I’m eager to write, so I’m a frustrated writer. If I’m near the end, I wonder if I’ve done my homework. If I’ve done enough research, or if I need to keep reading. Inevitably, I’ll continue to research as I write, because I can’t know what questions will pop up until I’m in the story.

Regarding “research” Merriam-Webster says this:
1 careful or diligent search
2  studious inquiry or examination; especially :  investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts, revision of accepted theories or laws in the light of new facts, or practical application of such new or revised theories or laws
3  the collecting of information about a particular subject it could

As precise as the definition is, it still leaves so many questions. But those questions boil down to one.

How much research is enough?


I wonder if NASA ever asks this question, but of course for them, it’s all about the budget. And space. . .well, really, the required research is infinite.

For the writer it’s all about time and energy. More often than not, we learn far more about our subject than is ever required to write the story. Haven’t you read a novel where the author shared too much of his or her research?

In addition to reading various books and articles on the internet about my topic, I also try to connect with experts, and if it’s a geographical region I’m researching, I try to speak with people familiar with the region, or have them read the book. That, in addition to researching every single fact—the weather, the flora, the animals, the people, the architecture, the dialect.

I mean. . .EVERYTHING.

On this one thing, you can’t research too much.  

In fact, I usually don’t use any element in my story that I haven’t already found in my research.
But even so, we’re only human and we make mistakes. And sometimes what we've written is construed as a mistake when it’s not. For instance, witnesses to a car accident will see the events differently. People who live in a town, will experience the town differently. If I wrote about the town I grew up in, I’m sure at least one person would challenge my information.

A good friend shared that a reader once wrote a letter telling her everything she had gotten wrong in the town where she grew up. The town was fictional, created solely from the author’s imagination.

I’m excited to soon be diving into researching and writing on four mountain
search and rescue stories set in Alaska—the last frontier. To me it’s everything beautiful and natural and wild, and I can’t wait to be there with my characters. To create my proposal, I've already connected with an avalanche specialist and the president of a mountain rescue organization. I have all my books lined up.

But in the meantime, I already have a book set in Alaska and it releases this December. Wilderness Peril is the sequel to Treacherous Skies and Riptide. I have an interview on Suspense Sisters the last Friday of November, so I’ll share more about Wilderness Peril then.

Two things I want to make you aware of in case you don't already know.

1) I’m starting a street team. If you enjoy my books and think you might be interested, read the details HERE.     

2) The month of November, I’m giving away a $50 CBD card and a copy of Wilderness Peril to one winner of a drawing. To enter the drawing, you must sign up for my newsletter. You can find the sign-up at my website.

Blessings!
Elizabeth


2 comments:

  1. Your book sounds fantastic, Beth! I am anxious to read it and need to go back and read TSP! I signed up for your newsletter and am excited to be in your drawing. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete