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Pluvious
March 10th, 2003, 02:06 AM
Do you ever come to the point in your novel when you realize you don't have the knowledge to do a scene/plot justice? Or perhaps even in the planning stages you become aware that you can't write something the way you would like to?

Does this ever happen or do you simply research the subject as much as possible and do the best you can?

Holbrook
March 10th, 2003, 02:58 AM
Originally posted by Pluvious
Do you ever come to the point in your novel when you realize you don't have the knowledge to do a scene/plot justice? Or perhaps even in the planning stages you become aware that you can't write something the way you would like to?

Does this ever happen or do you simply research the subject as much as possible and do the best you can?


Yes, I wanted to know how a sword was actually forged in traditional medieval methods and could any later methods of working iorn and steel be "back engineered". So that I could have a logical reason for a charge of witchcraft, one that could be blown out of the water later in the story.

This lead me into entering into nearly two years e.mail conversation with one of Europe's finest smiths. Who has spent many years studing and trying to recreate a lost art. A gentleman, whose repoductions grace some of the great museums of Europe.

It also opened up a whole world of historical reseach for me.

I can tackle historical information, adapt and alter it to suit my story. Everthing from castle construction to everyday life. I can't and would not tackle SF at all ,as I don't have the "interest" to actually do the research for this.

I believe my strengths in writing lie in my love of history and my "eye" for studying and observing my "fellow man"

The information I gather and use is, for the most part, the backcloth to my story. Though sometimes it is the driving force, but the story is mainly about how the characters relate too or handle the situation they are in and deal with what is presented them.

The thing is you have to use enough infromation to convince your reader you know what you are talking about. This doesn't mean learning everything, but getting various opinions or viewpoints on the information, enough for you to distil a more or less convincing story line.

juzzza
March 10th, 2003, 03:59 AM
A great question Pluvious.

I think one of the greatest parts of being a writer, is the research phase. You often begin to research an element of your story and what you uncover inspires you a thousandfold.

I have written a novella/long short story about an assassin who uses an antique Spanish Rifle for one particular job, now I don't know anything about Spanish Rifles, or rather I didn't.

I have also completed a longer tale that takes place in a fictional Chimpanzee Sactuary in Africa, and I did not know the first thing about Chimps. The other complexity is that the main character is an American lawyer who has to cope with Afican law. Now, I didn't know anything about American law, let alone African law!!! A lot of research and some creative license and 'Monkey Puzzle' was complete.

Anyway, YES, ALL writers do not know everything and must undertake research to fill the holes as it were. By the way, even with the most in-depth research you can muster, some pain the butt will always throw '... that is impossible' '... obviously is not an expert...' lighten up people, we're telling stories here!!!

milamber_reborn
March 10th, 2003, 04:14 AM
Research if I know beforehand. If something crops up mid-story I just picture everything clearly in my mind and use the character's POV to convey what I need to say.

If you really don't think you can do it justice, put the idea on the backburner and start researching. Then add to your ideas over time and write it when you feel more comfortable.

I, Brian
March 10th, 2003, 07:16 AM
Pluvious -

When I experience it, it usually means that I'm missing an important piece of inspiration - usually because of something yet to be experienced. It's a case of move on and come back later. If I try to force the issue I usually have to go back and re-write anyway. ;)

Bardos
March 10th, 2003, 09:27 AM
There were times when I made a small reasearch about ancient ships and how fast they sail...

Another time I wanted to know something about medieval engines of war (and I too asked a question from a guy who has a site with catapults and stuff, Holdbrook. Damn, don't remember the site, now...)

And, I've made some research on armies (especialy Roman) and how they march, fight, and camp. (just write Roman Army in any search engine out there).

Oh, yes, and aquadact (sp?), Roman-type also. It occured to me when I though -- "Hey how these guys get their water into the city when there is no river close by?"

But to answer your question, most writers do this, i think, "you simply research the subject as much as possible and do the best you can"