Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Research for your novel -- writing tip

                                              by Thornton Parsons

What would you do if you uncovered evidence of a 70-year-old murder? Would you notify the authorities or would you “let sleeping dogs lie?” These are questions that Cathy Billings must answer in Go Tell Aunt Rhody. When Cathy discovers Lynette’s hidden diary, it changes the rest of her life with it’s tale of love and death.

As she reads, Cathy becomes obsessed. She cannot rest until she finds out what happened to Lynette and her longago family intrigue. Cathy embarks on a quest that causes her to question her own values and beliefs. When she finds that Lynette is still living, she is forced to make decisions that will have a lasting impact, not only on the lives of the family in the diary, but on her own family, as well.

Question from the e-mail

Question:  How much research is  really necessary to write a historical novel? I have a book I want to write and I've been working on the research for more than a year, but I'm not nearly ready to start...any advice?

Answer:  In his excellent book, On Writing, Stephen King recommends that we not do any research until after the first draft work is done. He says it eliminates the danger of getting caught up in the research and losing track of the story. Story first. He said he often puts notes right into the text to remind himself (find out xxx) so that he knows what to look up later.

His plan sounds like a good one to me. Finish the first draft before you do anything else. I have to admit I’ve lost a few books that way. 

1 comment:

  1. For what it's worth, I don't do a lick of research until I need a fact for the book. All I usually have to look for is enough detail to make something more real for the reader or to determine if what I want to write for a particular passage is possible. As noted above, it's all about the story first.