I’m going to admit up front here that this week’s topic filled me with the same sort of dread and trepidation that the very idea of research fills with me with. I was an English major in college, and of course, I did some research, but I used to dread it with every fiber of my being. The mere idea of in-text citations makes me want to break out in hives.
That’s not to say that I haven’t ever done research while writing a book. Because I have. With my first three books, Google/the Internet were my good friends. I searched the web to get details right that I wouldn’t know otherwise -- everything from job/career details for my main characters to trying to get necessary/accurate legal or medical details.
But just recently I’ve started working on something new. Something that requires real, bona fide research: books and probably interviews with people and maybe even some in person visits to particular places. This book, which, I’m not going to say too much about because it’s in such an early stage right now, will take place in both the present and the past. It will have fictional characters and historical figures. (And yes, I just broke out in a sweat writing this paragraph.)
Of course, I can do it. At least, I think I can. I know that research is more tedious really, than hard, and I guess that’s part of what terrifies me. That I’ll get it wrong. It’s one thing to write a book that is contemporary, in which I’ve invented everything including the setting. And it feels like another thing entirely to write a book that incorporates real people with fictional ones, that takes place in a real town, against the backdrop of a real historical event. I’ve been a little nervous to get started writing (and truthfully have been finding one reason after another not to get started quite yet.)
In the meantime, I’ve been working on something else and . . . researching. Or at least, the very beginnings of it. Right now I’m reading someone’s diary, (a famous woman who shall remain unnamed but who lived quite an interesting life in the 1930s.) And I’ll admit, I’m enjoying it so much that it doesn’t even feel like research. Of course, I’ve still got a mountain of research to conquer before I can even start writing. So wish me luck!