1. Chesney
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    Chesney New Member

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    Style Adding more/researching, getting distracted.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Chesney, Dec 31, 2014.

    Hey, So i'm attempting to write my first book. I've wrote a general plot for each chapter and the story and got some links for some general information i will need but i'm not even past the first few page's and i find myself doing sooo much research it isn't funny like trying to find out cool names with meaning behind them for my characters, or finding out something im researching is tied to something else so i read that as well and i'm getting hardly any writing done, is this normal, how can i fix it and focus on the writing at hand? Or is it better to do this so i can give as much information as possible. I'm trying to write a mix of fantasy and alternative history (sort of) with a bit of comedy and romance mixed in. I'm aiming for 80-100k words but at this rate it will take me forever.
     
  2. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Hey, Chesney!

    From what I've been told, it's fine to research, but too much will simply distract you and this is what's happening with you. Don't worry about getting every single thing nailed down to a 'T'. In your case, start writing with what you know now and when it's time to research a little more, research.

    A poster here once laid out a schedule of what he/she did in their creative endeavor. When he/she wasn't writing, it was research. When it wasn't research, it was reading. When it wasn't reading or research, it was writing. The gist is to balance the three so they work together.
     
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  3. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    First thing I would suggest is that you don't worry at this point in the process about things like 'cool names'. Just call your characters Bob and Mary and get the story down. That kind of thing seems to me to be an excuse for procrastination (trust me, I'm an expert). Writing is hard, and research can be fun. Try to do the hard part first.
     
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  4. SwampDog
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    SwampDog Contributing Member

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    Hi, Chesney,

    I wouldn't worry about specific research just yet. Get the story down first.

    As an example, I'm on to a second draft. First draft I've referred to a police launch and its engine. Now I want a Marine Police launch, in Hong Kong, in 1968, and its engine(s) make and configuration. It doesn't play a big part as such, but needs to be accurate because of what I'm describing. What speed will it achieve on tickover only? How many crew?

    But whatever, unless it's crucial at the time, get the story down, and don't get bogged down with research in depth. That can come later.
     
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  5. Chesney
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    Chesney New Member

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    Thank's everyone :) I'll try not to get distracted. I've had this idea in my head for years, it just keeps getting bigger and bigger, I've always wanted to write it but never got around to it but i thought it was time. All in All im about 1/3 through the first chapter and have a story line written down. I'm finding it's a lot of fun, even when getting distracted i feel like I'm learning stuff i actually want to learn.
     
  6. Amanda_Geisler
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    Amanda_Geisler Contributing Member Reviewer

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    I'm sorry @stevesh and @SwampDog but I don't agree with you. My story requires extensive research to be able to get all of the facts straight. My books are deeply embedded in Ancient Greek mythology, if I didn't do my research then my book would be a load of waffle. I do however agree about names, don't worry too much about the names unless the name has a specific significance to the story.

    I agree with @Link the Writer there needs to be a balance in your writing. I read so much. One good research resource for my Greek Mythology has been Rick Riordan's books, they are also based on recorded Ancient Greek mythology. Though I always research the ideas put forward by those books to make sure that it really is what is described in the said mythology.

    @Chesney. What you should work out is exactly how much research is required for your story line, now I'm not talking every little detail, I'm talking things like time periods, you can't have your book set in medieval times and have them using a laptop computer. Research is just as important as the writing. And yes writing may be harder then the research and you may feel like you're not doing much but really you're making the writing task easier by knowing what you are writing about.

    These days people are telling me that a have an Ancient Greek fettish because I know all of the Gods and what there role is, I also know what kinds of abilities the Gods pass onto the demigod children. I also have extensive knowledge of their folktales, like mythology, such as; vampires and werewolves. If I hear a fact about Ancient Greek mythology that is false then I can't stop myself from correcting it, because I know so much about it.

    How important is research to your story?
    How much do you need to write the story?
    Do you need it for the start of can you do it gradually?

    I believe these to be questions you should be asking yourself in response to your query.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2015
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  7. SwampDog
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    SwampDog Contributing Member

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    We're talking about not getting bogged down in research or character names that aren't crucial at the time. Your research is essential. Therefore no disagreement. :friend:
     
  8. Void
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    Void Contributing Member

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    Character names are irreverent in the first draft, as are virtually all names. As long as they are unique identifiers then it is trivial to do a find and replace when you have better names later. Trust me, I'm shit at names, so many of them are place holders for now and only characters with a relevant genealogy are given family names (only four characters in the entire book have middle names, and one of them is more or less a joke).

    Research on other maters is not so pointless however. Just as an example, in the book I'm currently working on a character was going to begin abusing prescribed anti-depressants and eventually get addicted, until i researched and found out that most anti-depressants have virtually no recreational potential nor addictive qualities. Since it is a sci-fi/fantasy story i could easily have hand-waved it by saying they are different drugs to what we use, but since the society is so advanced they have conquered death itself, I figured that would be stupid and so chalked it up as a plot hole. So there are some things that you need to be careful about, but if you are just wasting time making sure they hold the swords correctly or that background characters drink only drinks that would be realistically available in the setting, i would say that gets into time wasting territory. Especially since a lot of this stuff may be discarded in the editing phase.
     
  9. SwampDog
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    SwampDog Contributing Member

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    They are indeed. I've got a vicar called Hugh Janus. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2015
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  10. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Makes me feel better because I once called one of my characters "Doctor Dark-Hair" because I couldn't think up of a better name and he had such curly dark hair. :p :D
     
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  11. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Everyone has some fab points here but the way you choose to do it is your choice. However, I personally, use a little from both sides insofar as with some sections , I just get the story down while it's in my mind and then do any research involved when I come back for the first edit/re-hash. On other occasions, if I know the next section I'm working on contains a boatload of technical stuff I start the research first as I've found that you can't always rely on Google/internet/books for the answers. Sometimes you have to send the question to a person and then wait for their reply.
    Good Luck! x
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2015
  12. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    Hi Chesny!

    It's amazing doing research, and you should do a LOT of it. The more you know, the more intelligent your writing will sound.

    I follow an author by the name of Diana Gabaldon - she wrote my all-time favorite book series Outlander that is based in 18th century Scotland (Currently an 8 book series and has it's own TV show on Starz!). She lives in Arizona. Had no clue about the time period and she's well known for her thorough and accurate research.

    This is what she said when it comes to doing your own research: Researching for your novel is like going grocery shopping. You enter the store for some simple beans and weenies for supper that night, and on the way to the canned foods aisle, you pass by some rotisserie chicken. Mmm. That sounds good. You decide to get the chicken too - and then you start thinking. Some lovely steamed asparagus would be beautiful next to the chicken.... And it goes on like that.

    What you're originally looking for is the beans and weanies, but by researching and reading - you could end up with a beautiful meal.

    Sometimes, I get so hung up on picking out that meal I forget to cook it! So when I have this problem, I just take what I have and begin writing. Close out the 10 tabs of wikipedia and baby names, and just force myself to write as much as I can. And if you come to a spot where you need a name or a date and you know if you stop you may not continue just put a [ ] in the place of the missing information. Later just do a document search for those symbols and it will take it back to where you need to look stuff up! Hope I helped. :)
     
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  13. Dunning Kruger
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    Dunning Kruger Active Member

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    I'm doing an alt history/historical fiction and find that I alternate back and forth between story and research. But here's the thing, the more I research, the better my story gets. I know the topic better and I write more confidently. Admittedly, I have wasted many hours researching stuff that turned out to be irrelevant. But then tangential research later yielded some awesome information that helped the story a lot and contradicted some key details I included in the plot. The reality is, I wasted a lot more time writing and plotting before I was done with my research than I did doing extra research. So, I share Nicoel's sentiment. Dont be afraid to research if the details are an important part of the story and if the audience will want those details to be reasonably accurate.
     
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