POLL: How many of you know what the 47th tallest structure is? (No googling, you cheaters).
Does that make me brilliant or lame?
I have no idea.
But I do know it makes me a writer. You see, I, like you, look for the smallest, seemingly inconsequential detail to breathe reality into my stories.
Or, I'm deluding myself, and my last month of ‘research’ into the tallest structures around the world and the effects on the body of falling off said structure have all been a waste of my precious, limited time on this planet?
Honestly I suspect the latter.
I’m all for research, as long as it’s for the book’s sake and not a means to procrastinate actual writing.
In my latest book, I found myself in the saggy middle, no idea how to write my heroine out of the corner I inevitably wrote her in since I never outline though I think outlining is a brilliant idea. So here I sit, my fingers on the keys, unmoving.
Hmmm…Is my writer’s block a sign of early dementia? I mean, I haven’t written a word in over an hour. That has to be something, right? I jump on Google, searching for the signs.
I’m not a hypochondriac.
I’m doing research!
Maybe, since I’m here, I should research the shoes my heroine is wearing? I could name them in the book, show my readers I know my shoes.
Except I don’t.
So I’m not writing. So what? I’m researching!
Of course, what I really am doing is wasting my time on stuff that isn’t vital to my book. Unless shoes play a role, why bother with that level of detail? It is a way for me, at least, to procrastinate instead of doing what I should do and outline the rest of the damn book or at least the scene I’m struggling with.
Research gives life, makes worlds come alive (See this article from Writer’s Digest on how to use research).
But it is and always will be about the story.
No amount of research makes up for what’s on the page.
Or getting those words on the page.
BTW, read my next book for the answer to the 47th tallest structure. Hint, it’s close by. And if you’re interested, I’m still ‘researching’ the effects of falling off said structure.
Anyone up for a field trip?
What are you currently researching? Do you find yourself ‘researching’ instead of writing when stuck like me?