Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Research - The Chicken and the Egg

A large proportion of my novel is set during World War II. I love historical fiction because I love reading about times gone by. I remember watching a television series when I was at school (more years ago now than I care to remember) called “How We Used to Live” and I that programme shaped my fascination for the past. I wonder what happened to it. I would love to be able to see it now; just to see if the reality lives up to my memory.

So doing the research for my novel isn’t a problem for me. In fact I can easily spend hours delving into the facts to get things right. What I want to do more than anything is to create an accurate and vivid portrayal of the lives of my characters as they surmount the trials of war so this really is essential to the credibility of my novel.

When I had the idea for the novel i starting reading round lots of the subjects I thought would be relevant to the story and I read, and I read, and I read. And then I thought to myself, “Stop” as the novel was in danger of never getting to the writing stage.

Feeling as though I had some idea of the flavour of the times I began to write. And then I wrote and I wrote and I didn’t let the facts get in the way.

Now, though, I need to go back to the research. The tricky part is either finding the evidence to fit what I have written or having to completely change some of my plot lines. This I accept is inevitable if things didn’t happen the way that I have written but I keep looking in the hope of finding evidence to show that it could have happened that way.

I’m seriously beginning to think that my writing process is a bit rubbish. I should have either planned the novel out better in the first place, done my research, planned some more and then written it, or researched as I went along. This is certainly a thought for the next novel. It’s all very well having the words on the page, and no writing is wasted because you can learn from whatever you write, but it does pain me to think that I may well have to delete a large chunk of what I have already written.

How do you do research?


Wednesday, 10 February 2010

I'm A Bit Stuck

I’ve reached the 75,000 word stage and now I’ve run out of plot. I know where I want to get to but I’m not too sure how to get there.

As I’ve already mentioned, I started this novel during NaNoWriMo and have tried to carry with it since, albeit much slower.

Because I had a specific word count in November to get through each day, I decided I would write what flowed easily so I jumped from one event to another depending on how the mood took me.

The result is that I have a lot of text but also quite a few gaps and I’m not sure how to fill in those gaps.

I’ve taken a methodical approach and printed off all I have, read through it and made a list of the missing bits. Unfortunately quite a few of the missing bits read “What happens next?” which isn’t particularly helpful.

I could do with sitting down for a few days, immersing myself back in the book, and do nothing but concentrate on sorting these problems out, but unfortunately at the moment life keeps getting in the way and I have to grab my writing time in fits and starts.

Does anyone have any helpful hints on how I can start to kick start some plot solution ideas in the limited time I have available to me?

Any help would be much appreciated!