Third November Blog. 5-11-14
To Research, or Not to Research. – Mind Over The Slog?
Do many of you, as writers, set any of your fiction works, be they short story, novel, poetry, in a far away country? I am sure a lot of you do.
Is it because you have visited said country and use your knowledge of the terrain, peoples and customs as background information to round the work out? Or do you do heaps of research before you start on the work? I am curious as to how many do not do basic research before writng your piece? As opposed to knowledge gained from books, t.v. etc..
I have not done much research in the physical sense because over the vast years of my life, I have been interested in learning about countries all over the world, animals and terrain; scientific projects from a normal person’s standpoint, and so many other things that I feel I have enough to go on for starters, and only revert to proper research when I get stuck for certain information to use in ‘away’ pieces at or before writing. I wrote a short story ince, set in the Outback of Australia. I felt I knew enough to give the story that sense of ‘being there’ without it being too detailled. I was not writing a real life story, but fiction.
I expect to see hands raises in horror. Do research, I hear you say. But I have, all my life, certainly enough for a short story.
If I were writing about something historical, then of course, I would need to research the era, the clothing, possibly the speech ( if there were some sort of written verbalsation ), what food was eaten, what the terrain was like and many other basic pieces of information useful to my subject matter. And that would apply to any era in history that was check-able. The further back you go, the fewer reference points there are.
I have written a short story or two, set in Roman Times. Have watched lots of programs about Romans, not just fictional accounts, but factual information by Historians. They were over here for several hundreds of years and left a lot of floors, relics, swords, amphora and so on, for us to learn about them before they moved on. Some stayed and intermarried, others left these shores for good. So I could look up lots of details, if needs be. But, I wasn’t writing in that much detail and what I wrote about was fictional in any case. Something totally made up.
One can get away with writing murder, if you do not stress too much detail. They say ‘ the Devil is in the detail’. So, I leave out a lot of detail. They are only very short stories, around 800 to 2,500 words. No space to carry a lot of detail.
This all changes with writing something a lot larger. Depending of course, what you want to write about. It still is not imperative to research. I mean, where would you research science fiction? Unless you have a lot of space ships etc. or Fantasy. All in the mind.
Ponder on it lovely People.
Take care of yourselves and others.