So we talked about researching your setting and your characters. But what about all those other details that crop up? Particularly for historical writers, where you're dealing with language and fashions and politics from an unfamiliar time.
Since I don't write historicals, I asked my best friend, and multi-published historical author Roseanna White to share her research process. She said:
Some authors admit to being research junkies. In a class I took from Angela Hunt, she said she allows herself one week for research, otherwise she has problems cutting herself off and writing.
Other authors are like me, groaning and dragging their feet when they have to do research. I'll do it, of course, but I'd rather be writing. I know this about myself, so I do my best to pick topics I know I'll enjoy researching.
Like the foodie book I'm working on. I like food. I wish I had more time for cooking. The idea was born out of cooking dinner with my daughter so, really, it's just an excuse to order in a bunch of cookbooks from the library. It's research that's fun for me, and that'll show up on the page. So, if you have zero interest in cars and think people who like cars are kinda stupid, I don't recommend having cars be a big part of your story. Don't torture yourself. Or your reader, who will likely pick up on your emotions.
The final tip I can offer you is that of giraffes.
When I'm writing, I often find little things that need to be researched. Things that I know won't affect the overall plot, like a song title or the name of a rival high school. Instead of stopping to research every tidbit, I do this:
We sang SONG TITLE GIRAFFE.
Or, So long as we defeat NAME OF RIVAL H.S. GIRAFFE, I don't care.
When I'm done with my first draft, I can do a search for "Giraffe" and make a list of all the details I need to figure out.
Why giraffes? My brother-in-law gave me a giraffe about 6 years ago with a tag on it that said "Hemingway." I keep it in my office, along with my other giraffes, Bronte, Austen, and Dickens.
(Hemingway is the one on the left.)
I have yet to use the word "giraffe" in a manuscript, so it works well for me. When I write that book about an African safari, however...
Next week will be proceeding with our first drafts and hearing from the fabulous Trish Perry. Don't forget to get your writing prompts into me by the end of Monday!