1. InkDream
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    InkDream Senior Member

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    Writing and Research

    Discussion in 'Research' started by InkDream, Feb 18, 2010.

    So I've basically stopped writing what I've been working on, deciding that I need to do more research first. I'm just wondering if you guys write while you're "researching" or if you wait until you think you've got enough info? And where do you draw the line? I'm on the verge of getting sucked into a research vortex of doom that just keeps going and going and going...

    I think I've hit a wall.
     
  2. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    Stop researching. I am guilty of exactly what you are doing, researching something to death. But although I have a thirst for it, the more answers you know perhaps the less your mind wonders, imagines, creates. Perhaps its harder to be creative if you are using the 'study' part of the brain. I find that reading, painting, writing a song, a short story or playing guitar helps my writing and ideas form. But this is just me, and my opinion which is not relevent to writing books according to Cog who deletes and censors anything I write nowadays. :p
     
  3. topu
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    topu New Member

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    Hi,
    Its actually varies from person to person. I prefer to write while I am researching. I think it helps a lot, because you dont need the whole information from one research paper or book, all you need is the core information which is related to your topic. So if you peak that core information during your research and write it down, it will be easier for you to link the other information you will come across during your research. Its my personal opinion and experience. I always found by linking so many ideas together you will find a new idea, which is something exciting:):)
    Regards,
    Shahid
     
  4. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it's fine to research while you write if you can do it. You can always go back and fix inaccurate things later.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Not always. I have seen people ask research-type questions, and lament that what they learned means they have to scrap ninety percent of what they have written.

    It all depends on how central to the story the material you need to research is. If your story centers on falling through a black hole and emerging in another universe, it can be a huge disappointment to learn the tidal forces will shred all matter long before you approach the event horizon - your protagonists would be subatomic soup long before they left this universe.

    On the other hand, if you were planning on killing a character with a bite from a type of spider that turns out to be ugly but harmless, it's probably easy to substitute another spider, or another venomous creature entirely.
     
  6. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    My first thought is ... How do you know what you need to research until you get into the ms? You may think you have everything you need and then, in the depth of your story, you realize there is something that just doesn't feel right and you need to go back to your research.

    I have seen so much bad, inaccurate writing that I cringe at the thought of falling into that pit. Even tv shows are guilty of it. Watching an old episod of "NCIS" I found myself thinking, "If he's a doctor, how can he not see the guy isn't dead? If he's supposedly been out in the snow all night and then in a body bad in the morgue, why is there no sign of cyanosis? No blue around the mouth, no waxy condition to the skin, flesh is ... well, flesh colored." Then, later, they are taking days - DAYS - in the hospital to run tests to determine if there is any brain activity! The guy woke up in the frickin morgue and his eyes popped open! That indicates there is brain activity of some degree. I could only shake my head and mutter stupid writer! Stupid director!

    Things like that have made me a compulsive researcher and, for me, it is part of the writing process. Many things I know I will need to refer to time and again and I store pages or links in my files. Often as not, I reach a point where I realize I have a hole in my 411 and head back to research. You have to start with adequate knowledge of your subject before you get started but, just remember, that IS just the start.

    Write about what you know but know about what you write.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    writing demands self-discipline, so apply that to doing your research, as well...

    it's really simple, if you don't make it complicated... study up on what you really need to know, in order to write believably and just stop when you've got all you need...
     
  8. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hence I said if you can do it. Those would be cases in which you can't.
     
  9. EileenG
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    EileenG Member

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    For what it's worth, I just type ??? whenever I come to a point that research is required and just keep writing. I go back and research when that section of the book is finished. Usually the research only results in a few lines or even a few words in the story.
     
  10. cboatsman
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    cboatsman Senior Member

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    You should research as much as you need to write the story. Anything past this point is simply for your own knowledge especially if it's not applicable to the the story.

    Caleb
     
  11. Anonym
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    Anonym Contributing Member

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    don't write about anything that you know requires research, til you've done the required research. simple as.
     
  12. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Then you would have very little to write about, Anonym. That's just laziness.
     
  13. cboatsman
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    cboatsman Senior Member

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    If we didn't write anything we know requires research then what would anyone write? We'd be limited to writing about ourselves and our own limited life experience because we wouldn't know anything about the outside world.

    I agree with Rei: "That's just laziness."

    Caleb
     
  14. Anonym
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    Anonym Contributing Member

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    Don't write about anything that requires research, that you've yet to study. That's more so what i meant. wasn't as obvious as i thought, my bad, lol

    Like Cog said, just don't risk writing about anything that you know requires research in order for you to confidently know what you're talking about; especially when part of your plot hinges on it - simple as. Mainly, im refering to objective, technical issues that a person can't just guess thier way around. if it requires knowledge you don't have, don't write about it til you've researched. i've never done that w/ any of my college papers, i don't know why anyone would w/ a deeply personal work of art. it's 'lazy' to write about something you're unsure of.

    that said, not everything requires research. i don't need to be an expert in family dynamics to write about a dysfuntional one, ect. but even then, knowing more is always good

    Research. Always.
     
  15. whiskeyjameson
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    whiskeyjameson Senior Member

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    This has provocative double meaning. I believe he was saying not to write anything till you've done your research.



    Best, Whiskey
     
  16. Anonym
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    Anonym Contributing Member

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    exactly. thank you
     
  17. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    But I suspect you have chosen this example because countless writers have not been disappointed at all by that, and have gone on to write (sometimes) perfectly good stories. Which raises another important point: how accurate does the writer actually want to be. Some sci-fi writers don't care a bit, some care a lot, and there's a place for both (and all points in-between).

    So the original question is really unanswerable, without knowing what the questioner is actually trying to achieve. Ok, clearly not at the don't-care-a-bit end, or they wouldn't be doing research, but are they an "everything has to be precisely accurate" sort of writer or an "I don't mind bending things a bit if it makes a better story" writer?
     
  18. Anonym
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    Anonym Contributing Member

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    Good point.

    I think most writers normally struggle between the 2. tho, i don't think its impossible to be strictly realistic and still craft a good story. I personally only read & write sci-fi, but sci-fi that makes a good attempt at being realistic/existential. being realistically unrealistic is quite possible, i think, but im not an average consumer of literature, im sure.

    its a balancing act. if realism is obviously better for your style or a certain situation, go w/ it; vice versa, ect. depends on the writer
     
  19. Endricte
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    Endricte Member

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    Personally, I think doing the research first is far more effective. Who knows what kind of little details you might pick up along the way, which can only enrich a story.

    I've gone the "research along the way" route, and I was never satisfied just cutting and pasting specific points of info into the narrative.
     

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