Deadly Ever After

Archive for the tag “research”

Getting Inside The Story

Today’s brew: All the water. It will all make sense in a minute.

by Kristen

(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)

Uphill, both ways, over a rock. For real.

Uphill, both ways, over a rock. For real.

Now I’ve decided these characters rock climb. Wish me luck.



Writing What You Don’t Know

Today’s Brew: On to Blueberry!

by Kristen

Write what you know.

It’s the mantra of beginning writers everywhere. It’s a security blanket we wrap ourselves in, loving friends and family. What can possibly go wrong?  It’s low risk, still rewarding. You can also put the pedal to metal and get those words out. You don’t have to bog yourself down with pesky research.

There comes a time where you have to let the baby bird, in this case your characters, out of the nest.  They need to explore the bigger world and face new issues.  This is a good rule of thumb for real people too, but not as easy to uproot your adult life and start all over just because you’re bored. (Okay, okay. I’m guilty. I’ve done it.)

It’s time to do research.

In my first books, Because The Night and Night Moves, as well as novella Seasons In The Sun, I pretty much wrote what I knew. Of course the vampire stuff is totally made up, but I just needed to rely on my imagination. For Night Moves, the characters went on tour. I researched the cities I wasn’t familiar with courtesy of the good old google box, and kept details generic as possible so no resident of that city could point a finger and call me a fraud.

Now it’s time to start In The Still Of The Night.  I’m still writing about rock star vampires, but if I keep writing the same tale, well, why bother? So this time I’m adding in some new elements.  Tarot reading. Circus. Quebec City. And some other stuff, but I don’t want to spoil the whole damn thing.  I want you to read it.

Those three things I’ve listed, I know nothing about. So I need to learn. For me, that’s a mix of research and doing.  I have a deck of tarot cards and a Tarot For Dummies book.  I’m going to sit down and figure things out.  I may road trip to Quebec City. (Already cringing at the thought, since I speak piss poor French).  I’ve actually looked into trapeze classes.

I’m excited about this.  I love new experiences, and I love learning new things.  I’ll need to cook up some more crazy scenarios for me to try under the guise of “research.”

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