Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Book Number TWO, Better Research

I liked the character from my first book, and decided to go with another female, fighting through some conflict and coming out stronger, more sure of herself.

Yeah, I know, a little bit of the ‘I am woman, hear me roar’, kind of thing. But at that stage in my writing career, I still had to go with the female perspective.

So, Rebecca, called Becca by family and friends, came to be.
Becca was young, just starting her career, but what career?
Nursing, teaching came to mind, but then I drove by a country veterinary clinic, and I had it.
Now, to do the research.

Veterinary Assistant or Technician. I found all the information on the internet, what the job entailed, the education requirements, even found a course description for a local college.

I gave her some conflict, had her moving from that small town to a city, not too far away. Using my own small town as reference, I looked up the cities both east and west of me for possible locations I could use for inspiration. You have to love the web sites designed for any town or city. They are a wealth of information.

You can get a map of the city, a list of all the services available, plus businesses, such as hotels, malls, and restaurants. And veterinary clinics, if you were looking for such a thing.

So now I had home town, new town and was writing away. New character entered and he needed a career and a place to live. Big city this time, so Toronto. No end of material available on line about Toronto.

Decided my guy was educated in a small city, not the same one mentioned before, and relocated to the city after graduation. I made him an accountant. Who knew the education process was so complicated, and that there was an internship involved? The things you learn when you’re writing a book. Now I’m keeping a file on careers, never know when I might have a need for an accountant again.

Where could he live? The real estate ads were extremely informative; location, services, proximity to subway, and sometimes, a virtual tour.

I found my guy the perfect condo, on Yonge Street, with a shopping complex and access to the subway from the lower level. Just the spot for a young, career oriented bachelor who works downtown and wants to live near by.

I printed all this information for my story binder, added photos from a decorating magazine that looked perfect for my condo, I mean his condo.

When my characters need to go shopping, I can find everything they need, with a detailed description of each item, on the store web site. In the first book I sent Katie to La Senza, this time my male character shopped at Tiffany’s. Too bad it was only virtual shopping.

I was still following the theory of ‘write what you know’ with some added internet research. I haven't ventured too far out of my comfort zone.

But, I've seen the acknowledgments in books I've read, usually the author thanking people who have helped in the research. I read them, and understand the author has talked to them for their expertise, maybe for their career or hobby or for their specific knowledge, such as medical data or weaponary.

I don’t know, being one out of a great sea of unpublished authors, if I would be brave enough to seek out others for research information. What credibility do I have, that they would give me their time and attention?
I have a problem calling myself a writer, yet writing means more to me than just a hobby, it’s something I think about constantly and feel a need to do. What would it take to make me confident enough to make that claim? Publication? That’s a tough one.

The first book I wrote for me, to prove I could do it. I sent it to Harlequin, and it was rejected. I took the advice they gave me in their kind rejection letter, and wrote the second book, more romance than the first, full of inner doubt and conflict, and was again rejected. Back to the drawer it went for years, until this heat wave had me confined to home and I pulled it out for a rewrite, a further edit.

Now, for the third, I went for something a little different, a murder story. Out of my comfort zone, so lot’s of research. More later.





1 comment:

Connie said...

I loved hearing Helen Reddy roar, I am woman. Actually saw her in Las Vegas.
As for writing what you know, I'd suggest write outside your comfort zone. Look at the books you like to read, what keeps you captivated, what about the characters enchant you. Rejection is just another notch in the belt, indicating you actually finished something.