Wednesday, April 11, 2012

04/11/2012 Writing Wednesday!

Good day everyone. You may notice this post is up a bit earlier than normal, that would be because there is a job fair I'm going to that requires I be awake at something closer to a more 'normal' hour of the day. While I disagree with the time, I understand it it for my future and will accept it.

Today I wanted to look at how to handle research in writing. Unless you're going for high fantasy or science fiction on a world separate from Earth, there are going to be things that can be located or referenced in real life. Now back before things like the Internet this wasn't nearly as much of an issue, but now someone can read/see a reference, get curious about it, then (in many cases, mine included) pull out their phone and do some fact checking. This means that even something like mythological references must be researched because if you get one tiny detail backwards it's going to be time for a flame-war.

Now, unlike college thesis', Wikipedia is a fairly good source. Especially if what you're looking up is just a general idea or reminder of what something is. For example, in one of my stories I need to figure out the layout for the Underworld, and the path the character needs to take while there. This is going to take them through the Underworlds of both Greek and Egyptian, and while I know about Greek fairly well, Egyptian is where I start getting lost. So I hopped over to Wikipedia, looked up Du'at, and got a fairly good outline for what I needed.

If your stories are in real-life cities, consulting a map will be useful as well. I for one don't travel much, so when I get around to editing my stories I'll need to look at a map of London and also modern day New York City, just to make sure the distances and general neighborhoods are correct. Think of all of this like all those movies that say they're set in Seattle, but the skyline is obviously Vancouver BC. Sure it works for things on the ground level, but pull back and people are going to start giggling when they don't see the Space Needle.

You need to do some amount of work for your stories besides writing them. Now, sure you can wait until you get to the re-write/editing process, since the most important part is actually getting the full idea down, but when it comes time to start putting the finished product together you need to make sure things are consistent. Like I said before, I blame the Internet for pretty much all of this necessity. I'm also not saying that taking a myth and playing on it yourself a little is out of the question, but there are going to be certain things people are going to catch, no matter how small the detail, and it is going to just shock you when they do.

I appreciate everyone stopping by to see my tired typing. I hope you all come back on Friday for my weekly review as well! Until then, I hope you all have a good rest of your week, and wish me luck!

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