Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Fun Research?

One of the things I love about being a writer is research.

Some of you may be saying to yourself, research, YUCK!
But what if your research involved travel? 

Now that's the kind of research I'm talking about!

My first book, Watched, is set in Montana and Washington DC, so I traveled to both places so I would know exactly what they were like.
My hubby in DC

Niceville High  Michele's new school

My second novel, Protected, is set in Florida and Washington DC, so I traveled there several times. Florida is a big place. Besides, who would believe a town is truly called Niceville?
Niceville's Stadium where Michele cheered

My the final book in the series, Created, is set in Belgium, Prague, and Spain, so guess where I'm going this got it. I simply can't wait.

Here are some pictures of Germany. I bet Belgium looks similar.

Me, having some fun in Orlando.
Where am I?
I love experiencing the things I will be writing about. It gives an authenticity to my work that would be hard to achieve otherwise. My bank of pictures is amazing. It also makes for a fun time with my family. We get to do things that we might not do if I didn't have my character doing it in my novel.

When my characters run down a street, it's most likely a real street I've walked down.

It's true, it's not all fun and games.I do take lots and lots of notes. Sometimes my family goes one place, while I go another-in the name of research, instead of fun. And sometimes, I get so excited about something my character is doing, I have to sit and write and write. Now, if I'm at a table in the shade by the Seine river, what does it matter, right?
Seine River

Just remember, when you research, you want to use as many primary sources as possible. Primary sources are first-hand accounts. You can be that primary source.
A bit of advice...
Make a list of what you need before you go, or you'll forget. It's only natural when you're somewhere new and exciting to forget the real reason you are there.

When you experience things first hand, it adds depth to your writing and your story.  Your readers will feel it, too.

So, get out and experience the world. What do you have to lose? Did I mention it was tax deduction?


  1. How fun! If I can get to a place before I write about I'll do it but it's not always possible! But blogs and YouTube videos are great! Have fun this summer!

  2. Absolutely the best advice. There's a real world out there to be explored and exploited by writers. Here's to research!

  3. I have got to start setting my books someplace besides Oregon and California! :) Well, like you said, I've lived both of those places, so that's why the books are set there...but I think France sounds like a good spin-off location. Fun post!

  4. I love hearing about authors that actually go the places they write about...or even just LIVE in the places. How fun. I'd enjoy this type of research too.


  5. you are speaking my language!! I love travel and drew on my own experiences in Greece when I wrote Destined, but perhaps it's time to go back!

  6. This is how I felt when I went to the Bay of Fundy this spring, the location of SEAWEED.

    You'll have so much fun in Europe this summer. I've been to all those places and they're great!

  7. Wow! How cool you do all that in-person research! I would love to travel for the sake of my stories!

  8. Wow, jealous! You're absolutely right, though -- good research is the difference between telling a reader where your character is and IMMERSING your reader in that world. I love books that have that true local flavor (Carl Hiaasen comes to mind) and really give you a sense of place and time.

  9. Oh, PS - how was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? Last time I went to Florida I went to Disney. I'll have to go to Universal on my next trip.

  10. I'd love to travel to the places I write about. But I've had to immerse myself in the world of aging parents for the last many years. Some day...