Tuesday, March 22, 2011

In my writing, I always ...

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog strikes again, and I nearly forgot it was my turn.  Oops!

The theme this month is: "In my writing, I have never______" or, in reverse if you so choose, "In my writing, I always______"

There’s so much I’ve never attempted in my writing, so let’s not go there.  The list would be too long. ;-)  Not that I’m unwilling to attempt most things, but really, I can’t find enough hours in a day to try.  We all need to prioritize.

But things I always, or at least, usually do?  I research too much.  I get an idea or subject in mind, and I research it into powder.  By the time I’m done with the research, I don’t want to write fiction about it anymore, though for non-fiction that habit works well.

Unfortunately, my current WIP is stalled, partly because I researched a minor point so deeply I lost interest in the whole story.  I need to cut the whole chapter and start over, I think.

Do you get waylaid by research, or do you avoid it altogether?  Have you found a middle ground?


  1. I know what you mean about research. I don't do any research until I'm done with the first draft.

  2. Hi Elizabeth! I suspect you are far wiser than I am. :-)

  3. I think research is important because it saves time--you could design a plot around something that falls apart when you do research, and I have no interest in scrapping something for that reason. But I know what you mean about getting waylaid by it--it's easy to get lost in a quagmire. Sometimes, the more you know, the more difficult to be creative, especially if your knowledge is not necessarily deep (I've had this experience over and over again!).

  4. "Research it into powder..."
    Deb, you are too funny.

    Research is a lot of fun. It's very empowering, getting "control" of the universe you're trying to build your story in. My problem is trying not to show off that I did my research by boring my readers with needless facts.

    Great post Deb!

  5. Hi Deb,

    Read about your blog at Lydia's The Word is My Oyster.

    Research can be a tricky one - time consuming. Sometimes, I've found it necessary to set a timer, 15 min to 1/2 hour, or 1 hour on more complicated subjects (my MC is a geologist).

    I wonder if when you have lost interest due to too much research, if maybe that is actually a good thing? That maybe the story needs to be changed or redirected somewhow?

    Good reflections!

  6. I get distracted all the time. Research leads me from one thing to another to another... and on it goes. lol. It's because I love research so much. At the same time research is important.

  7. Hi Sarah - I worry about my plot falling apart over a critical fact, too. I think the more I know, the better the story will work. But I still research too much. ;-)

    Hey Lydia - LOL! Go ahead and write it all into the first draft. Just delete most of it in the first revision.

    Hi Erin - Thanks for dropping in! A timer's a great idea. But it's soooooooo hard to make myself stop.

    Hi Lynda - You're a woman after my own heart! I love research! :-)

  8. Research it into powder, LOL! Research is important...if anything, I don't do enough.

    I hope your WIP becomes "unstalled." ;)

  9. Hey, Laura! Too little, too much ... It's so hard to find the balance.

  10. I'm not an 'over researcher' but I have over-brainstormed to the point where I didn't want to write the book any more. In that case, I set the project aside until it faded in my brain and I forgot some of it. Then I came back to it and wrote it!

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  11. That's reassuring, Angela. I'll get back to that novel eventually!

  12. Hi Deb! I just wandered over here from the QT blog, and I'm excited to explore your site further. I also tend to get waylaid with research, especially during my latest manuscript. My protagonist is the daughter of a famous dolphin researcher, and since I'm obsessed with dolphin research myself, I had to fight the tendency to just spout off interesting dolphin facts at every turn. Good luck getting back on track! :)

  13. Hi LisaAnn! Thanks for commenting.

    Dolphins are fascinating creatures. I can see why you'd want to share more than one story can hold.


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