Each project is dependant on some amount of research–even fiction, conceived from the bowels of your own imagination, requires research.
How are you doing? Are you groaning in frustration? Cursing the heavens–maybe even me? Good. Take that energy and direct it toward your task. Turn negativity into positive creativity.
From here on, I will be focusing on the fictional elements of writing, since that is what I know best. It would not be prudent to question me about the metaphysics of space flight, the gastrial anomalies of deep space, or even the gravitational pull of moons versus planets. I know not of such things. What I do know, I will share with you throughout this study. Which brings us back to the topic on hand: research.
When it comes to fictional writing, I caution you to use caution. Cautiously. Because you can fly by the seat of your pants only so long. Trust me. I know. I have many a novel penned with inspiration and ambition which I am now gutting and rebuilding. That’s all part of the process, of course, and you will be drafting and redrafting and proofreading to boot. But if this tool can aid in the process, take it and run with it.
When you sit down with your story, what do you start with? World-building? Let’s work with that.
World-Building: Set the tone of your book with a world. I’ve always found it helpful to scratch out a map, because it’s depressing to send your heroes north to the mountains of doom…when the mountains of doom are actually south of the border. It’s not a matter of changing “left” to “right” and “north” to “south”–think of all the terrain you just covered three chapters in, with bogs and monsters that aren’t digenous of the south.
Animal Life: If dragons are relevant to your story, make sure to incorporate them into the culture and habitat. Change that frozen, bulky northern dragon into a slender, serpent-like character more suited to the south.
Culture: Build up the cities and villages to reflect the story of world your heroes will be traveling. Are there nomadic tribes wandering the midwest, and are they peaceful or war like? Keep these in mind. It might be helpful to have a notebook or Doc file just for these notes.
Who are your heroes, by the way? What thought have you given to the main characters trudging through deserts and across swampy landscapes?
What is the Point of View (PoV) of your story? Will it be told from the main character’s view, or will it be a narrative, or maybe you will be writing to the audience in second person?
Do you have a plot for the story? Where is everyone going and where will they end up in the end?
What do you want the ultimate take away to be or is this simply an exciting adventure and you’d rather your readers not think too hard about life?
These are a few of the things we’ll be discussing in the coming month which I hope will give you the tools to creating beautiful and exciting fiction.
If you’re looking for something to do now, today, start giving thought to your own research. Then start writing out those thoughts. The best way to solidify an idea is to put it to concrete on paper (or a computer file. Just as good).
Feel free to write in the comments your noble plan and share some fears or trepidation you might have about all this spooky research.
Also, I encourage you to apprise me of errors in these lessons, as my 500 words a day for 31 days restricts the editing process to complete, unaltered writing. As we’ll talk about later, proofreading is not “editing” and thus there will be errors occasionally.