Last night and again this morning I started doing research for my second book on “visiting” Paris.
I have written the outline, the general story, and now it’s a matter of researching where (physically) to start and where (physically) to end my story.
It’s not as easy as closing your eyes and pointing to a city on a map.
I want the story to make sense. I want the story to sound real. I mean, no one would wonder if I drove a car from A to B, or landed in A and drove to B, but I know me. I wouldn’t drive from A to B nor is there an airport in A or B.
Plus — I want to suspend belief until I start chatting with Colette or Alexander Dumas (or someone just as ghostly).
I just don’t remember the research being this hard the last time around.
Do you do research for your projects? No matter if it’s painting, writing a story, or building a garden, do you do your homework first? I find I have to — I hate projects that are all baloney and no substance.
I find that the more you “know” what you’re talking about, the more you can turn reality into fiction and back again. Only when you know how things work or where things are can you adapt the truth to your own version of reality.
My problem is multifold.
I want to go to Paris one day, but even if I did visit the city of love it wouldn’t be the way my character is visiting it. So it’s hard to go to places she would go rather than places ~I ~ would go or places I would actually go with a partner.
I love the idea of these mini chats with famous dead Parisians, but I like to take direction of the conversation from real quotes from the ghost in charge. But what if there are no quotes available for famous Frenchmen? Am I being too picky?
I often get headaches of I spend too much time on the computer. My eyes need a break. But how can I write, how can I do research, without my eyes?
The answer to all these dilemmas is to just take my time. Research one thing at a time. Write one section of the story at a time. Stop worrying about the story’s next day and next day and next day. Pay attention to where I’m at at the time and give it my all.
Isn’t that how you create?
We often bite off more than we can chew. And nobody can understand us with a mouthful of mush.
Take your time. Plan. Organize. Then go crazy. Then stop. Breathe. Repeat.
And, if you need to, get a new pair of glasses.
10 thoughts on “It Hasn’t Always Been This Hard…Has It?”
You will have to tell me the name of your book when it’s finished! I can’t wait! I think I’m going to figure out a way to put mine on my website. I don’t want to charge money to read it — I just want others to read it. Your methods sound quite like mine!
Yes, I do research before I start but as I write I find I need more so my research is an ongoing affair. Sometimes I spend days researching something that only turns into one sentence in the story, but that sentence is as true as it can get. The book I’m writing now takes the some of the characters to places I can only dream of going but it’s surprisingly easy to find info online and even virtual tours. The internet has definitely made researching easier.
“Pay attention to where I’m at at the time and give it my all.” I like this…the power of now in writing. Good advice.
Write down thoughts and memories and flashes of insight from your own experiences and see where it takes you! You might be surprised! You don’t need to write a book, but maybe a poem or a painting or a something wonderfully creative will come from it. And it will be all the more beautiful because it came from you!
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No No No! Not maybe one day! Schedule time starting tomorrow! Type notes on a Word document or get a spiral notebook and start writing down your ideas today! Tomorrow! Take some “me” time and do it! The feeling you will get from creating a make believe anything will be and become addictive! It doesn’t matter if you write a paragraph a say, a chapter a day, or research a town, a method, or a disease a day. No excuses — just do it!! ❤
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Amazing that you’re going through the process of writing another book! I can only imagine how much you are pouring into the process. It’s always been a dream of mine to write a book 🙂 Maybe one day I will get around to it!
I LOVE Paris. Want to back again and agin. I’ve only been there twice, and that’s not nearly enough. I don’t think there is ever “enough” of Paris. I do a little research, now and then, but not very much. And because of my personality, I rarely take my time ding anything, so….I won’t be any help at all. Sorry.
Am glad others do a little research before leaping in with both feet.
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I love you travel in your book too! SInce you’ve been there once it still gives you a basis and flavor for your writing. I will take a look at HeyGo — I really appreciate the referral!
I think you answered your own questions pretty well in this essay, on how to get past the blockages in conducting research. And yes, I like to research my subjects.
Baby steps as they say. Research is important but I only do research on the section I’m working on. I like YouTube videos and recently I discovered HeyGo https://www.heygo.com/ It’s a free site that takes you on tours. I found it very helpful. My latest book takes place in Paris. I have been once, four years ago, but didn’t see everything I have in the book. So I took a couple of tours and it really helped with some details and to get the feel of the place. And to answer your question, no it doesn’t get any easier and you just forgot how hard it was last time. Good luck.