08 October 2011
Doing Your Homework--D.H. Tremont
Writing fiction is fun but it requires doing ones homework so to speak. If writing about fictional characters in a timeline of our past history then you better be sure that what you put in the manuscript is accurate. Keep yourself out of trouble when you do research and be sure that the sources you are using will stand up to a reader who happens to really know the facts about what you have written in your book. Wikipedia will not cut it and someone’s opinion though he or she is entitled to it doesn’t mean that it is correct. I can remember ions ago in school when one had to actually go to the library to do research and needed to double check and check again with various sources to be sure that what was written in one resource was substantiated in others. The work can be fun, especially when the writer loves the topic. I find myself getting so caught up in the marvelous research that I can stray way off of the needed subject material. I sometimes have to make a mental not to let go, at least for the time being, of that portion of my search and get back to the material needed for the current project. This fun research time can add color, and detail to the work in a way that brings so much of the story to life and makes the characters and ambience shine with authenticity; assets that all smart authors want in their work. I find that when I comprehend how the people lived, dressed, ate, existed in the social environment and work ethics of the times it makes my ability to get into my characters’ heads so much easier. A character’s personality and the reader’s enjoyment of getting to know the quirks of that individual make for better development and let’s face it an absolute must for the well written book. Whether the reader loves the good guy and hates the bad guy (as should happen) it is imperative to have a totally believable personality. This well formulated personality comes with a specific language, use of words, a way of eating, drinking and getting dressed in the morning. How a person did those things in ancient Egypt will be far different than Victorian England so know all about the customs and habits of the era you are writing about. Being accurate is not a bother but a gift you give yourself and the reader.
A gift that keeps on giving as you build up a readership number that makes other authors envious. Once you have hooked an audience for your books you will have more and more demand for your wonderful work.
Happy writing and do that research.