Today’s brew: All the water. It will all make sense in a minute.
(Just a piece of business before I get down to business…Because the Night is now available on Kindle Unlimited, so if you’re a subscriber, you can read it for free! Do this thing.)
Write what you know. It’s a great place to start. We have enough to worry about when we start writing without bogging ourselves down with research. Pushing a plot forward with three dimensional characters is hard work, yo. Not to mention, once you get those characters all snuggled in, you have to throw a stick of dynamite into the works and make them put their lives back together. And live happily ever after, if you’re a romance writer.
I pulled from every single place I had. Las Vegas, going to eight million concerts, working in the entertainment industry…Secondhand Heart is set in my hometown of Plymouth, and I had a lot of fun making the town a character in the book. God knows we’ve got some quirks around here. In Silent Night, I laid it all out bare. That book is really about when I lost my mom, and there’s a lot more truth in that one than fiction. Even though it was therapeutic to write the story, it’s terrifying to offer something that will always be raw and painful to the world.
Eventually, we tap the well dry. I write a lot of books. Having to set stories in places I’m not familiar with, or give the characters jobs and interests I know nothing about, is more intimidating that I expected it to be. I might not be familiar with something, but my readers might know a lot about that subject. If I don’t get it right, people are going to call bullshit in a hurry.
The internet makes research easy. Kinda. Sort of. Not really. Anyone can put a website. I mean, they let me and Julie run this blog. They’ll really let anyone on the interwebs. You have to make sure you’re looking at credible information. Wikipedia is a total crap shoot. I watched a video today, and then scrolled down to the comments where people ALL CAPPED that the technique demonstrated was extremely dangerous. I’ve watched makeup videos where people use latex paint on people’s faces. (This can kill someone.) You still have to vet your resources, and make sure your information is spot on.
A story I completed recently was set in New Orleans. I’ve been to the city a couple times, and I have two great and beautiful resources named Angi Black and Sarah Guillory to help me with local flavor. They made me feel a lot more comfortable writing from a remote location. But the manuscript I’m currently working on is set in the Colorado mountains.
I’ve never been to Colorado. I’m not sure if Angi or Sarah have, either.
I love being outside, but I wouldn’t call myself an outdoorswoman. I have leopard print sneakers and do zumba, for crying out loud.
How the hell was I going to convey how it felt to be chased through a wooded mountainside?
Clearly, I had to climb a mountain.
Yesterday, I drove to the Blue Hills ski area. There’s no skiing this time of year, but plenty of hiking. Before you point and snicker at my loose interpretation of a mountain, it’s the best I could for a morning hike. I chose the red dot trail, basically because I parked near it. I didn’t bother to check if it was the most difficult trail until I got back to the parking lot (it was). But I climbed that bitch, all three quarters of a mile up to the top. It was exciting, terrifying, rocky as fuck, and exhausting. I learned so many things about a mountain that I would have never figured out looking at a computer screen. And, I liked it, so I might go back and climb that bitch again. Or find another bitch that needs climbing. (TWSS)
Now I’ve decided these characters rock climb. Wish me luck.