Since I’m at an interesting point in my writing process right now, I thought I would blog about the steps in my writing process. I’m going to break it up into several posts. Let me start at the beginning.
Once I have the core idea for the story, I do extensive research. For me, that means reading books (nonfiction, mostly), searching the Internet, and watching documentaries. By the way, I try to do all of my research in English, not German. Knowing the German terms won’t do me any good when I’m writing in English.
With e-books, I can get my hands on the books I need more easily.
I always learn more than I’ll ever need for the story. Less than ten percent of what I learned about horses actually made it into Hidden Truths — and that’s as it should be. Resist the temptation to dump all that hard-earned knowledge onto the page and onto the reader. Even if you don’t use every bit of information in your story, it’s not a waste of time. The information is in my head, and I believe that readers can sense it.
A lot of writers I know dislike research (in fact, Georgia Beers just blogged about it). I don’t. I’m an information hound. I love learning new things. During research, I learned about big cats, the hormone system, life on the Oregon Trail, ranching, horses, mail-order brides, law enforcement, the US court system, and a lot of other things.
For my next novel, I’ll research canines, wolves, deafness, and American Sign Language. A dozen “research books” are already waiting on my bookshelf, and probably even more on my e-reader.
At some point, I have to force myself to stop the research and start writing.
So, how do the writers among you do research? Do you like it? Hate it?