Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Research



First thank you all for your input on my dead bodies. I now have enough to be able to move the story along and will do the fine digging at the end of the first draft.




How do you cope with research? Are you a full-on digger before the writing begins? Or do you dig as you go? A bit of both?




For me I think the seed or seeds of books evolve out research I have done on other books. I know when I was looking up old manors in Cornwall for this current work I stumbled on something and thought ahhhhhhh. But generally I am a dig as you go sort of person with a double check at the end. This of course is why I don't write historicals which I love - I am too lazy to do that level of research. However I obviously can't let go of the history thing either as each of my books (the recent ones) has thus far had at least one strong historical element - I guess this limits the research nicely.

For the wip I needed to refresh my mind on part of the Helford River a bit further towards Gweek than is our normal stamping ground........so thankfully our stolen weekend in September provided the weather and as the boat was still in the water I could actually visit the part of the river that I wanted for a scene where Victoria takes an early morning swim. (I shiver at the thought but then I am not Cornish!).


The problem is that looking at them makes me long to be back there but the weather here in Dubai is improving daily!

17 comments:

JJ said...

I think research is essential to me and informs my writing. If I'm stuck for words, my solution is often to research a bit...

Flowerpot said...

I do my research first usually. Lovely picture Liz. I was actually in Devon over teh weekend but it has been great here over the past week or so.

Debs said...

I do a bit of research before I start then some as I go along, as invariably I find more out than I thought I would need and have to check it out.

Lovely photos too.

Tam said...

Huh, I am cornish and I shiver at the thought of an early morning swim!

I like to know about my topic beforehand so do the bulk of my research before writing.

DOT said...

This, my first book, has involved no research - big mistake as far as I am concerned. The action takes place where I live so no research was needed for that but I am finding that I have to invent everything all the time which becomes very wearing.

My next book will be so heavily researched before I set pen to paper it will write itself.

I did post on my blog about research when I was feeling a bit low. (Gary Smailes kindly agreed to critique my opening chapter and I hadn't heard from him so thought the worst. But now I have and generally his comments are positive. So Yippee!)

http://westpierwords.blogspot.com/2008/10/i-have-currently-just-finished-reading.html

Phillipa said...

I'm definitely a dig as you go person Liz. Sometimes you don't know what you need to know before the book starts. I read somewhere that of all the reserach you do, only the tip of the iceberg ever appears in the finished book. I do like to try and experience as much as I can though. And I agree with JJ, research is good for procrastination too.

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

I'm like you, dig as I go - and much too lazy to do historicals. Actually I'm not sure it is laziness as I quite enjoy research, but I'm more interested in contemporary stuff.

iriegal said...

I came here by way of the black box. Great site. I wrote a (and got published) a poetry book, but nothing like what you are doing. I think doing research first is essential.

L-Plate Author said...

I'm a dig as I go Liz but then I am writing what I know about to a certain extent, working on a council housing estate and the tenants who live there too. But I've had to some research on domestic violence, that was pretty harrowing.

I'm glad too though because I'd be a bit lazy if I had to do more than that. x

Leigh said...

Definitely a dig-as-you-go girl.
I'm not organised enough to know what I'll be needing to research in advance!

Lovely photos!

ChrisH said...

I'm very impressed with your hard work, Liz. I've felt terribly stuck after disappointment with FTT. What I admire about what you've done is that you've doggedly worked away on rewrites, turned your novel around AND you're working on mew material. I feel rather unworthy in comparison. Must change my attitude.

liz fenwick said...

JJ - I just releazed if I'm stuck for words I go lie down...research sounds more productive!

FP I am so jealous of where you are I have to say!

I think I'm like you Debs...

Tam, then your not one of the hardy ones that swims on Christmas day? Well done on dong most or your research before......I might if I knew what was going to turn up on the page :-)

DOT will pop and rwad your post and well done on the positive read!

Yes, I read that fact too Phillipa and I know that for August Rock I used very little but interesting some of that stuff is turning up or will turn up in the current work. I love nothing better than to get lost looking things up on the Internet not noticing the time slip away.......

liz fenwick said...

Zinnia, they say write what you read and I think I would read historicals all the time but limit myself as nothing would get done at all.

iriegal so pleased the magical Black Box widget winged you this way. Huge congratulations on the poetry book. I am in awe of poetry as there is so much intensity with each word.

L-plate you are a brave soul and a good one. I don't think I would have the emotional strength to research domestic violence let alone work around it.

Had a feeling you were a person after my own heart leigh!

Chrish you are far from unworthy! Sometimes it just takes a little while to pull back up and start again. Because of the kids and travel schedule I just put my head down and do it when a spare moment appears! Now find our moment and head down :-)

B said...

Hi Liz - just noticed that you had started following my writing blog so thought this would be a good time to stop lurking over here and, um, say hi! So hi :)

I never know what research I need to do til I fall over the bit I need to do research on. Always impressed by the people who know what to research in advance!

Rick said...

When I do research, I get overwhelmed with new ideas for still more stories. So in a way, I use it to stoke my creative fires and spark my imagination.

liz fenwick said...

b - thank you for coming out of lurk and pleased to have another in the research as you go camp.

Rick - I bet you ideas must be amazing based on your blog. BTW have you done any post on faeries?

Steve Malley said...

It may be no surprise after my comment on your last post that I save the research for my second draft. First draft, it's all common sense and a feel for the story.

One thing I have noticed, though, is that I find stuff I've read or seen here and there informing my topics and my take on them. Unconscious research?