Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Research is important to keeping your story spot on.

The importance of researching for your book can't be understated or overstated.  I've started a new project, something very, very different to anything that I've tried before and while I'm enjoying the challenge, I'm also finding myself stumbling with what normally has come so easy for me.

For years I've written almost exclusively in  the historical genre, because its what I love. I still love it with a passion but at the same time the last thing I want to have happen is my writing get stale or cookie cutter. To avoid this I'm exploring new genres, new heat levels, locations, even new characters that I've never really thought of before.

Everyone loves an alpha be he a soldier, cop, werewolf or vampire, or a 18th century outlaw looking to steal a woman's heart. However, the werewolf, the vampire and the 18th century outlaw are a lot easier for me to write then the modern day soldier or cop.  I can see the character's development, know him, but putting those thoughts and visions into the story is a difficult process for someone who writes cowboys and vikings lol.

To be sure that my hero/heroines are real and three dimensional and that the story flows, I've had to resort to one of my most favorite past times. Research. Yep, that dreaded 'R' word has popped up yet again. I love researching clothes, foods, all the good stuff that made history so much fun. Now, because of my own creativity (Darn that MUSE!!!) I'm having to dig into modern day things like weapons and gear, skills that would be used by a Red Cross worker, the Joint Task Force 2, Navy SEALs and more.

A great story takes time I must say, and to have it be a true reflection of modern day events I need to spend hours researching, reading books, watching movies, to get all the facts that I can...so that I can edit 90% of them out and keep the good stuff.

One thing that I encourage is to keep a spreedsheat of all the links, books and resources that are used within the process so that if your editor comes back with a "This doesn't sound right." or "This is too modern of a term" you can say, "Nope, here's the book, link whatever that I got that tidbit out of."

After all, researching for a book is half the fun. The other half is torturing your characters until they break and do what they never really wanted to do in the first place - fall in love with the hero/heroine that's totally not who they were looking for!