I think I’m losing my touch. I can’t seem to shock my husband quite like I used to, at least when it comes to internet searches. I had the above Firefox page up when he walked up behind me. His eyes flared in brief surprise, and then he said, “Oh. It’s NaNo.” It wasn’t even a question. (And I kind of love how I’m searching all this scary stuff and the ad gods decided, “Yeah, you need to read the Bible, lady. Like now.”)
I’m a big proponent of research. Love me some research! Knowing the right smells and feels and words can make the difference between a believable, immersive world, and a flat, boring one. And while internet research is amazingly easy these days (as well as being super distracting), nothing beats hands-on, boots-on-the-ground research- and it’s mega-fun too!
That said, here’s this week’s reblog, from Delilah S. Dalton via Writer’s Digest: 7 Tips for Using Hands-On Research to Enrich Your Writing. Enjoy!
They say, “Write what you know,” which is why my next book is about killing monsters in 1800s Texas. Not that I’ve ever killed anything bigger than a wolf spider, but I know what it’s like to spend a long, painful day in the saddle. When you’re writing about a new world, your readers will have an easier time making the jump from reality to fantasy if you can use telling details to win their trust. And that means that you should travel to new places and seek experiences and local culture that will enrich your writing. The key? Using all your senses.
1. See the place.
Traveling allows you to soak up the visual backdrop of a new place. If you grew up in the country, it’ll be hard to write a big city since you’ve never looked up at a looming skyscraper. Visiting the place you’re writing about will inform you of what the people wear, what they hang on the walls, what sidewalk vendors sell, what colors the mountains are in the distance. I’m from Georgia, and I’ll never forget what it felt like to see the Alps for the first time, to climb the stairs of the Duomo in Milan, or to take a ferry to Santorini. Mountains are so much bigger than I’d imagined, and the Mediterranean is such a specific crystal blue. The mental photographs you’ll take while traveling will make your descriptions richer and more specific.
2. Taste the food.
Even if you’re not writing Game of Thrones-style banquet orgies, place-specific food still plays a big part in any story…
Ready to read some more? Pop over to Writer’s Digest for the full article! Happy writing!