It sort of makes sense for the uninitiated to think that writing fiction doesn’t require research. It’s all made up! That’s true, but I have found that even seemingly simple stories require research. Part of the reason that fiction feels so real is that it’s based in real life. It could have happened.
So, on that note, I want to share my answer to the Friday Fives question for this week:
What are your FIVE favorite research tools or resources?
- Google. I suspect that this is #1 for most people. Google knows EVERYTHING. Actually, scratch that. I was trying to find a picture of 1980’s Paula Abdul in a specific outfit earlier today and I couldn’t find it. Also, about a year or two ago, I tried to find a yellow dress that Stacy Clinton was wearing on What Not to Wear, and I couldn’t find that either. Those are the only times Google has ever failed me, and they are strikingly similar situations. I guess that Google’s Achilles heel is specific outfits worn by D-list stars.
- Craft Books. I have a whole shelf dedicated to craft books, and I like to go back and read them, make notes on my current WIP, and do whatever exercises they might provide. In fact, I just bought Donald Maass’ Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook, and I am ready for a weekend full of revising fun.
- Author and Agent Blogs. I have lots of them on my bookmark bar, and I read them regularly to stay up on publishing world info and what books are breaking out. It doesn’t hurt that everyone in YA is so entertaining and optimistic either.
- Books. I try to stay current to see what’s being published and what readers are responding to, and I try to look at each book as a learning opportunity. If I love a book, I ruminate on what the author did to achieve whatever it was I enjoyed. Some of the better craft tips I’ve gotten were from reading really good books.
- Thesaurus.com and Dictionary.com. Looking for the perfect word to suit a certain scene can be tedious, but finding the right word can click everything together in ways that I didn’t even realize they could click.