05 January, 2012

Research

Happy 2012 everybody! This is the blog post where I should probably give you a list of my resolutions for the year. But I don't have any, so I won't. My current goal however, is to turn the trash I churned out in November for NaNoWriMo into a proper novel. Preferably by the end of March (for the first draft anyway!).

Of course, I could have made the process a bit easier for myself by not including things in my novel that I know nothing about. Some of these things - anencephaly and persistant vegetative states, for example - can be introduced into the book by means of an afternoon on Wikipedia (plus half an hour on some other websites just to verify facts!). But others are not so simple.

There's one strand to the story - which I won't mention here as it rather gives away a vital part of the plot - that is going to be a headache I can tell. Mainly because it involves economics and banking and things which I have no head for at all. I do not understand the stock exchange. I'm pretty sure it's evil.

Photo courtesy of: night_fate at sxc.hu
However, the biggest area of research is abstract art. Note to self: do not centre a book around a character who is an abstract artist if you barely know what that is. While good ol' Wikipedia has been a faithful friend once more, I really needed to get a greater depth of insight. After all, this man lives and breathes this world. I need to have a good working knowledge of it. Readers aren't stupid, they know when you're winging it!

The post today brought me a (hopefully) good guide to the world of abstract art so I am currently immersing myself in Kandinsky, Malevich (don't get me started on him!), Suprematism, Dada, Rene Magritte and countless other people and movements.

Never having written a "Serious" novel before, having to research things is a bit of a shock. Fantasy worlds bring their own challenges, but at least nobody can check your accuracy on google! Having said that, I'm getting quite into it. And, you know, if I can't ever face learning so much about a subject again, I can always make all my main characters abstract artists from now on.

Where do you stand on research? Love it? Loathe it? Do you like it when books contain details of things/places that are alien to you, or are they a bit too much effort to read?

4 comments:

  1. I love research. Partly because it puts off the moment before I have to write anything, but mostly because I write around things that I want to know someting about.

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  2. I often prefer the research to the writing! But as far as squeezing all those facts into fiction, my motto is less is more.

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  3. I think it's definitely good to have a relatively sound knowledge of what you're writing about, as it comes through if you don't, particularly to readers who specialise in that particular area :S.
    As always, I think balance is the key. It's good to knowstuff to make your writing more rounded, but important not to show off, otherwise it gets boring.
    Good luck with your proper novelling :)

    Nari X

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  4. I'm delighted to see you taking such a brave step my friend. As you know, I'm doing something similar to yourself in that I'm reworking my NaNo novel to be a 'proper' novel. I've had to put off my trip to Glasgow but for me, that physical walking of some of the ground is vital for my story.
    I totally agree that Wikipedia can help but there's nothing quite like knowing a fact because you've experienced it. I personally prefer to research as I go rather than do it before writing. If I don't KNOW something it doesn't go in.
    I enjoy facts in a story. If you read something you recognise it gives you confidence in the writer and makes the tale more enjoyable. I'll keep an eye out for your progress.

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