It’s amazing, in writing fiction, how much research can be required.
It started off a simple question. And tumbled larger and larger, bouncing up high and ricocheting wild and fast, with me running about it like a gnat, one moment ahead of my question and the next behind, often at risk of being squashed by its various and sudden new directions.
Whoah! And yet at the same time, keep going, crazy tiger! 🙂
It turns out many of the books I now need to read are indeed very close to me, shelved in the stacks of the New York Public Library’s main building on 5th Avenue. All I must do is pass between the two guardian stone lions and beneath those weighty pillars. But these books I want–and I’ve checked on this–are books I can never take out of that building. No, those books are in the closed stacks.
Peer at them, I may. Read them, mayhap. But remove one precious page from the august institution–nay. Not one.
That’s fine. I love libraries. I’ll sit there and pontificate and research and screw my brain (and ergo my dependent face) into all sorts of shapes as I contemplate how to fit all my pieces together, loyal to both reality and imagination.
A million years ago (though some might call it twelve years back), I remember a professor of mine nudging me to start on my thesis already.
“But I’m not done researching,” I whined, terrified of the commitment of writing.
He looked at me stonily. “You’ll never be. No-one ever is.” It had taken him ten years to finish his PhD. I didn’t want to spend ten doing my thesis.
So I stopped and began writing.
So my process now, knowing what a glutton I am for research–and I am, I’m the first to own it–is not to separate the two worlds out. I research while I write. The details can shift if truth demands it. But I will find a truth that matches my tale.
History is too varied for me not to find the perfect key for my little lock that I’m crafting. Lots of peepholes, lots of things to sneak a peak at; it’s too easy to search and search and search, growing addicted to the bramble and siren song that is historical research. But I’m gonna find the answer to mine little question and all the teeny rivulets that have sprung from it. And it’s gonna rock. 🙂
And indeed it’s been rocking again, after a bit of a hard spell. Felt like slogging through mud at times, surrounded by a thick and glutinous fog, heavy and unrelenting. But slogging and slogging regardless, with a dash of reading great new stuff (new to me, at any rate), has paid off. The story is COMING ALONG. 🙂
I wish you guys success too!!! How’s your writing going??