Day 18 – “R” Research
Another vital part of the writing process, researching is something I absolutely love to do. The type of research and the intensity of it most certainly depends on the piece I’m writing. The contemporary novel I’m working on requires far less research, mainly on how to renovate and restore a cabin (a project my main character is working on).
The historic novel I’ve been plugging away at is my needy child. Especially since this storyline is historic fiction, I’m super anal about having all of my facts straight. Set in Louisiana at the turn of the century, I’ve been researching plantation homes and how they ran post-Civil War, the history of New Orleans, Creole-style architecture (particularly bayou cottages), the history of the reconstruction period, etc.
My desk is littered with books, notebooks, and clippings that relate to my book. I have a number of photos I’ve printed out and tacked to my desk or the walls surrounding my working space, to inspire me and pull me into that setting, that house, and to set the mood accordingly to write that particular scene.
I’ve also been recently developing a character with borderline personality disorder. She is loosely based off of two former acquaintances (horrible I know, but we all do it…) whose personalities and behaviors were eerily similar, making it easy to combine and create one fantastically messed up character. In order to get the details right with this individual, I’ve been referencing back to my old psychology text books (I was a psych minor) and have been rereading books on BPD, including memoirs, fiction, and non-fiction.
Research is huge for me. It is a crucial component that often ties directly into my outlining process. One of these days I’ll travel back to New Orleans to do some on-site investigation for my book, something is a must to fine-tune the descriptive details to ensure that my novel feels authentic. Having lived in the south for a few years, and having visited New Orleans an number of times, I feel that I have a good grasp on this, but definitely want to visit again strictly for research purposes to tie up the loose ends.
What is your research process? Do you even research?