Thursday, September 24, 2009

How do you research?

I'm finding that my current WIP is requiring quite a bit of research on two specific topics. Up to now I've been doing a combo of writing/researching depending on how the mood strikes me and what my day is like. For instance: if I'm at home with my daughter napping, I write; but if I'm spending the afternoon running taxi service for piano, soccer, scouts etc...I just pack up my research and head out to do it on the fly sitting in the car or wherever I end up. But lately it seems I'm being less than productive. In fact, I've been researching so much that I'm feeling guilty for NOT writing. But WOW am I learning a lot!

It occurs to me that perhaps I need to pick one or the other. Perhaps I should just research day in and day out until I'm confident about my material and then sit down to write. Or maybe I should just write as it comes and then research later and fill in where necessary. I'm leaning toward the first, but I can't shake the nagging feeling that I'm wasting time.

So I'm wondering: how do you handle topics in your own work that require research?

1 comment:

  1. I think it would depend. I haven't yet written/plannned a novel based, for example, in WWII, or in a foreign country - a novel where there would necessarily be references throughout. *If* I was to do this, I think I would probably give myself 3 months (or however long) to do research and THEN start writing proper.

    The 2 novels I have written/researched so far have not been like this, so I've tended to inter mingle the writing and research as and when it seems necessary before any particular chapter, so that once I've done as much research as I feel is sufficient for a particular purpose, I can get on and write the flipping chapter. (Bliss!)

    I think we each have to do it in whichever way feels most comfortable. Stop being so hard on yourself...!