Thursday, May 27, 2010
Re-Search: Step Two
(All right, so I needed to post earlier than planned due to an unplanned weekend trip this weekend! My cousin's graduating! Yay! So I'm not finished with this second step yet, but I'm confident that I can give an accurate account of the Research process. Yeah... I'm going to try to explain the boring in a non boring fashion. Good luck, right?)
Annnd... there are STILL pre-steps before the actual writing process begins.
They really aren't kidding when they tell you that you have to research your book. In fact, the re part of that word is the whole point of it's existence. You search a location... then you research the location of that location. And then you research the restaurants of that location's location, and the neighborhoods of the location's location until you can find the exact location of your character's location! And then you research ridiculous things that aren't so ridiculous in your book, like how to say Grandma in Greek (it's giagia in case you were wondering; pronounced ya ya). It's Exhaustion spelled with a capital E sprinkled with a little bit of sore fingers and dry eyes, and the code name for it is so cleverly called Research.
Why put myself through this Exhaustion you ask?
Because I need to know what the heck I'm talking about (and if you still don't know what I'm talking about, why don't you research it? ;) Ha ha).
If an author doesn't know what he/she is writing then how can he/she write it? Yes, I'm asking even more questions of you. And the easy answer is: he/she can't.
There are so many elements to a story. You have the characters, the plot, the setting, the problem, the antagonist, and a million stories behind each of these. Imagine researching backgrounds for each character. Researching elements of the plot, and location, etc. Basically researching elements within each element of the story. It's not easy...
For instance, my main character in the book that I'm working on has Greek heritage on her father's side. Now, I don't know about you, but I know I'm not going to learn the whole Greek language inside and out in a short amount of time before I can write (this is why the internet was born!) So I have to learn the words she will say the most in Greek (like Grandma/giagia from the above paragraph). You see, if you're going to research you might as well be smart about it. An author doesn't need to go to Italy to be able to write about it (again, thank you internet creators!), one simply needs to research the area that their story will mostly pertain to in Italy.
Needless to say, this step hasn't been very fun. It's work learning the details, but imagine if one of my readers came up to me and said, "I read your book and I love that Luna goes to the same high school as me! But why isn't she in Gym? It's required all four years...". And my answer would be to... blink several times while I thought of a good excuse. Of course, knowing every single detail of every single detail isn't going to be expected of the author, but in order to have a valid/realistic storyline they should know the most important ones.
Over all, this is probably the longest step to the pre-writing stage of an author's journey. Gathering information about information takes FOREVER and needs to be done carefully. Hopefully I can cross over from this step to the characters section... See you next week!