I hate research. I hate thinking about it, and I even hate writing about it, which is why I’ve been avoiding this topic for a while now. J To me, research means going to the library, finding unwieldy books, trying to figure out things that make little sense, and then writing about them in ways others will understand. Blech!
But then I sat down and thought about it for a few minutes and I realized something. Research doesn’t have to be that way. There are many ways to go about researching a topic:
I know my friend and co-blogger, Paula, does a lot of her research for her books by travelling to different places. I’ve been inspired by my travels as well. My uncle has a house on Block Island and whenever I’ve visited him there, I’ve always thought it was the perfect place to set a story. It also happens to be a perfect place to retreat to in order to write.
For one of my books, I had to research what it would be like to be in a wheelchair. For this, I found Yahoo groups and spoke to people who were more than happy to talk to me, despite the awkwardness of some of my questions! For another book, I needed information about make-up artists. Again, a computer group helped me to learn about the types of artists there are and the equipment they use. And the social aspect of this method was a bonus!
I once went to fascinating photography exhibit. The photographer took pictures of abandoned buildings that had been part of Ellis Island at one point. He put them together with information about what immigrants experienced and the result was amazing! Photographs provide insight that some descriptions just can’t convey. When I eventually write the historical novel that’s percolating in my head, I know this exhibit is going to help me tremendously.
I guess what I’ve learned is that whatever method I choose to use, and ultimately, I’ll probably have to use all of them, if I’m interested enough in the topic (which I’d better be if I’m going to write about it in such a way so as to engage my readers), the research may be a lot easier than I anticipate.