Sunday, 15 June 2014

Ramdomness of Writing Research

There is an aspect of writing I love and that is the research. I can get caught up in it. There is always the risk that you are too busy researching that you forget to write the story though. It doesn't matter what sort of story you are writing there will always been some element of research that needs to be done.

I like the details that add credibility to your story - that make it real. Often my research will lead to only a word or two on the page but that doesn't matter. I am infuriated as I write this I can remember reading some where recently but can't remember where that it is vital that your story is credible but not necessarily authentic. I find that small bits of information can lift your story off the page. What is important is that you do not bog your narrative down with detail. All that happens then is you stultify your story and particularly with children and young adults you will switch them off. The story has to be the focus. Everything else hangs off it and adds colour.

This week my research has lead me to have a conversation with a friend about Austrian/German nursery rhymes and quizzing another friend about whether you would potentially know if your helmet had been hit by sniper bullet. My friends love me and the random questions they often get asked. I am eternally grateful for their patience and tolerance. Over the years my children have had to put up with some extraordinary questions usually with the comment do their friends, 'Don't worry, she's writing!'

Books and Google are a wonderful resource as well. My internet history is fascinating. What guns did the Nazis use during World War II? How do horses react to the dead? What does a bullet wound look like if shot by a sniper? Plus Google maps/images if you need reminding of a detail. How spoilt are we these days when it comes to research it is so much easier than it was. I do my utmost to get things right but when dealing with history there is always going to be a risk. We can't know we weren't there and it is always going to be interpretation.

Today is Father's Day in the UK. My own father died in 1996 and I still miss him as I know my children do. He was a strong, proud man with a big heart. My children have made some comments to me this morning that I will not share here but have meant so much, they have truly touched my heart.

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