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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Author Insight: Research Frustration & Elation

What part of research is most frustrating? Most delightful?

"The frustrating part is that the Internet, and real people, are often full of it. :-) It's always hard to dig up authentic, solid info on a topic or situation. The most delightful part, though, is uncovering a little gem that I didn't know about before. Sometimes those gems lead me into a whole new story. I love when that happens!" - Sarah Ockler, author of Bittersweet

"They're kind of the same part, for me: The tendency to tangents and distractions.  I fall down the Internet an awful lot.  And then two hours later, having just paused to find out some detail of the barley growing season, I shake my head and surface, having read up on that and fifteen other things, half of which probably aren't useful at all, and find I'm out of writing time." - Leah Bobet, author of Above.

"Definitely the most frustrating part is when the research says the opposite of what you need it to in order for a story to work. The most delightful is when you wander down the wrong path while Googling and discover something totally awesome that you get to add to your story." - Aaron Karo, author of Lexapros & Cons.

"I do a good deal of traditional, internet and library research, but what was great with Where It Began is that much of my research involved talking with people – doctors, lawyers, traffic detectives, teenage internet buffs – who were enormously generous and helpful." - Ann Stampler, author of Where It Began.

"I’m a former grad student, so I love almost all research, at least when it’s on subjects that I choose.  So the most frustrating, for me, is the research I’m forced to do, in order to make my books as accurate as they need to be. And this usually falls into the category of small, concrete details of daily life. For example, for The Book of Blood and Shadow, I did a ton of reading on religion and Renaissance science and Czech history and ciphers, and I enjoyed all of that big picture stuff. But, so that I didn’t write anything anachronistic, I also had to track down some information on the material culture of the past, the things people might wear or eat or say when they were going to sleep for the night, and it’s that kind of minutiae that I can’t stand. I’m very easily bored…" - Robin Wasserman, author of The Book of Blood and Shadow.

"Research? What's that? I make this stuff up. Okay, I did read a little bit about General William Tecumseh Sherman for Ferocity Summer, and I was doing some research a few months ago for a book I may or may not write some day. I love reading anything and everything, and I like learning new stuff. So, that part of research is pretty fun. The writing down notes and organizing note cards sort of thing is not fun, however." - Alissa Grosso, author of Ferocity Summer.

"The most frustrating is when you can't quite get the feel of what you're looking for. The most delightful is when something you didn't know seems to fall magically (and creepily) right into place with your work." - Kendare Blake, author of Girl of Nightmares.

"Most frustrating is when the research doesn’t support what I’ve already written. Most delightful is when it does! I’m a write first, research later kind of author." - Jennifer Bosworth, author of Struck

"I’m still a relative newbie to the publishing world, so I can say without embarrassment that I enjoy all book-related research." - Cat Patrick, author of Revived.


 "I love research because I'm only using it to spark ideas for the most part. I suppose the bad part is losing lots of time to the inevitable Black Hole of Time Suck, but I figure if everything I add to the stew in my mind adds to the flavor of my books...so if end up on tangents during research, it will help at some point." - Gwen Hayes, author of Dreaming Awake.

"It’s frustrating to dig when you just want to soar. But it’s always delightful to learn something new. Like in the research for Swear  I discovered that baby crows have blue eyes, just like kittens. How cool is that!" - Nina Malkin, author of Swear.

Find out Thursday which parts of research are most frustrating and most wonderful for the rest of the authors!
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