As a writer, and I’m sure it’s the case with most other professions, research is extremely important. You can’t build a house without at least some idea of what’s underneath the ground. Patience is also incredibly important! Click on and I’ll tell you a little bit about how I came to learn this (well, I knew it before, but let’s just say I was forced to pay attention to it).
The past month or two have been insane. So much has happened and we have been so busy. Got engaged! (WOOHOO!) And I had my birthday! We took a lovely week away for each. My editing business is really starting to take off, I’m getting at least one new client a week. [It’s all done online so no matter where you are click here to contact me] Add this all on top of getting back into training, as well as trying to organise everything after a massive declutter, and it’s all go.
One other thing that happened was that I got my manuscript back from the assessor. … yep. I am really excited to make the changes that she suggested, and work on her comments. But there are a lot of them. As in, I’m basically just going to rewrite the whole thing because it would be easier.
And this is where research and patience come into play. When you get struck with that amazing idea that you want to turn into a book, you want to sit down right there and then and do just that. One slight problem: what are you actually going to write about? In most cases you could tell that first story idea in all of about 100 words, maybe a page if you’re lucky. Somehow though, you have to stretch it out so it’s closer to 100,000 words. It does not work! By all means write that page; it takes your story from start to finish in a quick, linear way. But if you want to turn that into a full sized book, you’re going to need a heck of a lot more material. In other words RESEARCH.
This applies to all facets of your story, not just the plot itself. If you have a picture of a character in your head, great. But unless you’ve fleshed them out, researched them, and delved into how they are going to evolve over the course of your story, they are just going to stay as that cardboard cut out. Not good. Same with setting. Elizabeth Bowen said that “nothing can happen nowhere“. Everything you write has to occur somewhere, and that somewhere plays an integral role in what happens and how, as well as how the reader is going to experience it. Your setting needs details, and the only way to get those details is through RESEARCH. Whether it’s hard lined research combing through old textbooks in the library, or researching through your own imagination, you still need to do that research.
And I didn’t. I lost PATIENCE and after just a few pages of notes I sat down and started writing. As Bill in Doctor Who said: “I was hoping something would develop”. And just like with her, it didn’t.
Since getting my manuscript back I have spent several hours every day going through writing courses and how to write books. I have been going back to basics and learning how to craft characters, create settings and spin plots. And as I go through, I have each of my characters and stories in the forefront of my mind, planning how I can make them 3D.
So, the lesson? Have the PATIENCE to do the RESEARCH before you start to write!