View Full Version : In the name of RESEARCH!
June 25th, 2004, 12:38 AM
What's the craziest thing you've done, or experienced in the name of research. I'm thinking about historical or character research here done in the name of writing etc, not medical or scientific research, so preferably no stories about being a human guinea pig for the latest truth drug or cosmetic product etc.
Another question I'd like to throw into the pan is, Have you even had a character you're writing, take your life over for any period of time? Also I'm not thinking of that temporary insanity ruse you used to avoid doing time for beating the hell out of......
OK, I nearly said too much there :eek:
I would think most writers have a piece of themselves in their lead characters.
Do you sometimes lose yourself in the "dark side" and it follows you around like a shadow or alter ego when your out and about after those extended periods of isolation and hard writing graft?
June 25th, 2004, 01:16 AM
Craziest thing: Drove 70 miles to stand in a field with a bunch of people I did not know. It was a small gathering of sword nuts.... Met some folks I liked and who became good friends, met some I have never met since and would run a mile if I saw them coming.... :D ;)
Characters that take over me.... Hmmmm Albert did and does. I do tend to go "Albert mode" when I am writing about him. But I can switch him off or learned too once I had finished the "Hat Man"
The worst was and still is my "first" effort of a novel. It took me three years of hard research and nearly two to write. Though those times over lap, the last 18 months of the former I was writing as well. I lived and breathed that book. I lived in the world I had created for hours on end. The characters were very real, still are. I am still re-editing it, though haven't looked at it for a couple of months. It is very painful in a way to go back to it. To see the difference in my writing style. To admit I got things wrong in it and try and put them right.
Honestly don't know if it will ever be finished......
But I have never lost myself so completely in a work since.
I often ask myself does that mean my later work lack the emotional power of the first?
June 25th, 2004, 02:42 AM
Buy magazines that cost $16.95!
June 25th, 2004, 10:24 AM
I don't have any great research stories. About the most unusual was talking to a fire department battalion chief about structure fires for a scene inside of a burning building.
I think it likely that I put a little of me in all my main characters. My second novel probably the most. I was kind of nerdy in high school. When I went away to college I sort of reinvented myself. I remember how hilarious I thought it was that no one at college could see the 'inner nerd'. Based on that, I had an idea for a character that reinvents himself so greatly, that the two aspects of himself begin to diverge. Split personalities. But even he wasn't really me. Or maybe I should say that neither one of *them* was me.
What really was personal in that same novel was a relationship that the main character had. It was just supposed to be what Hitchcock would call a 'McGuffin', a plot device and a smoke screen to hide the real plot until I was ready to spring the plot twist. But as I wrote, the relationship that the main character had with the girl and her roommate began to unconsciously (I think) mirror relationships that I had with two roommates back in school. The real life relationships ended badly. I remember that it got very difficult writing those scenes.
That's about as close as I've come so far to suffering for my art.
June 25th, 2004, 11:06 AM
I remember Asimov saying (in a preface to a book, I never met him BTW) that he used a dictapone once to narrate a book that his wife could then type up for him, and a conversation between two of his characters got very heated.
When his wife played it back it turned into a screaming, ranting match in which Asimov was shouting at himself with two different voices.
His words had almost become unintelligable as he'd gotten so fired up and "in character". :eek:
I think that was his first and last attempt at this technique. ;)
July 11th, 2004, 08:50 PM
lol...wow...no, ive never gotten that much into a character....but i do put a bit of myself into my character. the darker stuff, and the more intune and spiritual in anoughter character....but i cried when i had to kill one of them....(lol, pathetic, i know!) and it still bothers me that, in my editing, im trying to develope this character more so her death will really have an impact on the reader. creating her so i can kill her. but in my different moods ive found myself imagining im different characters, or picturing others as different characters. its pathetic...and hillarious.
July 22nd, 2004, 08:04 AM
It's not that crazy but the next time you're researching in some ruins somewhere, take a look at the people who are looking at you... I was in Crete where there is a wealth of fabulous ancient sites.
There I was taking pictures, making sketches, pacing out distances, standing up or crouching down to get viewpoints and looking closely at construction and carving... all perfectly normal of course. Paused for a moment and it seemed like everyone else in the monument was staring at this mad Englishman, haring about from place to place muttering about angles of fire and siege positions and posing questions about how water was brought up there. Couldn't see it myself of course...
July 22nd, 2004, 09:20 AM
I write a lot of martial-arts type battles. I'm also a black belt ;p.
This means that, when I'm writing this type of scene, I VERY often take myself out to the back yard with a notebook and choreograph the crap out of my fight scenes. The neighbors must thing I'm insane, because I'll do flying kicks, dodge invisible blows, throw myself up against walls, dive, fall, tumble, etc., just to make sure that the fight scene is both plausible and entertaining.
As far as characters taking me over...
Anyone whose checked out the website and read SD is familiar with Montgomery. Most people DON'T know that the entire Sleeping Dragon story (the first 'volume') was written about 2 years ago, and that I still consider it some of the most entertaining stuff I've ever written. The characters were vivid, it was funny, touching, driving, frightening in places. During the time I was writing the original SD, Montgomery took me over. I could channel his personality to a T. I KNEW exactly what he would say and do.
Sadly, I lost my only copy of the original SD when I moved from Oregon to NY. I stopped writing out of depression for a long time over that, but eventually I decided to re-write it.
So far I haven't felt the magic (which is why SD so rarely gets updated), but there have been glimpses of it. I hope to recapture it. The entire scene on the Prison Planet (not the scene we've already seen. The next one) was just like, my greatest achievement (imho), and I hope I can recapture at least some of the feel of it.
Original Fiction, Sci-Fi and Fantasy
July 24th, 2004, 03:49 AM
Research can have strange after events.
My first effort of a novel, the monster as I called it, is about the making of a sword. My idea was that in so many stories the Hero/King has a special sword, so how was it made, by whom and why. The first outline began as a total fantasy. I knew nothing about swords there construction, use and abuse ;). I realised if I wanted to tell this story I needed to know. The more I learned the more the story became “real” in that every part of the construction is possible. I became obsessive in making the “fighting” as real as it could be. In fact a lot of the moves in the story were worked out by WMA practitioners and members of the movie stunt industry, with me asking questions, pushing bodies to the left and the right and grabbing a sword myself.
I even with the help of one gentleman, created a “sport” based on the art of “stick fighting” for my guildsmen to play.
As this work progressed it became more of a story of an “event” a period in the history of the world I was created, than a story of a “hero”
My list of acknowledgements for that work is nearly two pages.
But back to the after effects.
It has left me with a group of friends, with whom I still correspond. It has resulted in one modern day sword smith, who I class as a good friend, making me a blade as a gift, based on our conversations and joint research. In fact this blade is now one of his production range of blades for re-enactors/collectors of reproductions. A strange after event to a bout of research…
July 27th, 2004, 04:18 PM
wow, thats really cool. Im sorry to say, ive never gone that in depth with my reasearch....althought i wish i could. Instead, i gather info myself from books, internet, and a few private e-mails.....
lol....me and my sibilings do a sort of "stick fighting" with our own set of rules and such.....its really quite fun.......everyone should try it......lol
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