Book Reviews and Writing Tips

Book Reviews and Writing Tips

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

How Far Would You Go For Novel Research?

Courtesy Creative Commons

Okay, people here is another wide-open topic that begs the question, what kind of novel are you writing. If an author went all out with wanting to experience first-hand the kind of things that they would be writing about, it could hold serious consequences.

Let’s look at this a moment. If you were writing about romance or erotica and are in a serious, committed relationship, you could be in trouble with your significant other in many ways, not to mention perhaps significant medical problems in today’s times.

If you were writing about murder, you certainly wouldn’t want to be the villain to experience what it feels like to kill another. It would be very unlikely you could also take the role of the detective or police to help solve the crime unless you are retired from that profession, or know someone in the force and could arrange a ride-along to get the feel for police business.

It is almost impossible to put yourself in the spot of a western these days unless by galloping out in the country on a horse and spending the night under the stars would inspire and give you enough of a feel for what the real cowboy was up against in days gone by.

I think we can all forget about experiencing sci-fi first hand. This pretty much goes for fantasy too, unless you happen to be writing about knights and sword battles. You can experience this by taking a fencing class, which is what I did for a sequel I’m writing for one of my books. Of course, this was nothing like wielding a broad sword in full armor, but it did give me a feel for what it was like to have an opponent coming at you with a sword when you had to defend yourself.

I will have to say I was not good at this. I definitely would find myself laid out in the courtyard straightaway had this been for real. But between that and attending a few medieval fairs, where I watched the jousting tournaments and talked with some of the die-hards, I had a good feel for the battle scene I wanted to write.

I really would like to hear your ideas for putting yourself into the action in order to write better.


DorChi said...

This is such an interesting post! Thank you!

For me, I've tried horseback riding and experienced falling off of the horse. That is a pretty vivid memory even today, many moons later :D

I can't say that I've tried something extreme in order to better my writing, but oftentimes when I walk around in the woods I can 'feel' the old ages or I get and image of two people hiding there from the rest of the world...and then I try to interpret that feeling on a paper.

Sunni said...

Dor Chi,

Thank you For stopping to read and comment.

Yes, I can get the feeling about what you're talking about with the people in the woods, feeling the old ages coming through - very good. I love that.

I live in the desert now amid old lava flows and sometimes I wonder what it would have been like before there were any houses here, or any civilization to speak of.

A lot of writing is about using that imagination to picture those times gone by and putting that feeling down on paper.

I'm not above using extreme measures though in order to give me the real feel of what it was really like - or as near to it as I can get.


Anonymous said...

Yikes Sunni! My research consists of reading and that's arduous enough! Although I do visit local places to get the feel of the scenes in my books-especially our city's beautiful and well-known Mt. Hope Cemetery, one of my favorite places to walk.

Sunni said...


I guess I would go to drastic measures sometimes, or some would think of it that way.

I love to walk through old cemeteries too. Interesting things there.

Thanks for reading and commenting.