Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Tuesday's Inspiration ala David Westheimer on Research
We're always told, write what you know. Many times this is impossible. I came across an old essay by David Westheimer that was on research and using it in a story. I know I've had to use research many times and I've found many avenues to find the material I've needed.
One of these is talking to people who are experts in the area where you're writing. For me, this has been a plus when using details that are medical or law oriented. Sometimes this isn't enough. Books and the internet are great resources. Almost anything can be found in these places. Visiting places can also be useful.
After you've found all these wonderful bits of information, how do you use them. Sparingly is best. There's nothing worse than reading pages and pages of information that you may or may not understand. The trick is to pick out a fact or two that gives the reader a look into the place or the procedure you're describing.
Another piece of advice is not to get so involved with the research that the story never materializes. For me, I've found something that works and that's to sketch out the story in a rough draft and then looking at what needs to be used to make the story right and then doing the research needed.
Try for a significant detail that will pull the reader into the story.
So research can be necessary to writing a good story and use it like spices to season a dish rather than to overwhelm the reader.