Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Research is like an iceberg ... only not as dangerous to readers

I use an iceberg analogy because --as a rule of thumb--
it is only appropriate for about 10 percent of my
background research to show up in my books.

The other 90 percent looms below the surface.

My numbers may not be everyone's ideal.
But, whether it's ten percent or twenty,
with luck, my readers will never notice that it's there,
beyond perhaps admiring my worldbuilding. :-)

After all, for every cool, alien-seeming flower or fruit, there are lots of
equally exotic plants that aren't useful for the purposes of my story.

(which I recently sold to Dorchester)
my furious hero is stuck on a deserted island
with an unwilling heroine who won't take off her fancy
(but wet) clothes to save her life .... which she should!

According to SURVIVORMAN, Les Stroud, the best way to avoid
hypothermia is to doff the wet duds and share body heat.

So, my hero decides that life will be more tolerable if he can
construct a distillery and a guitar --or a flute.

It doesn't much further the story if my hero then plans exactly how
he will go about fabricating his moonshine still or his instrument,
but the author needs to know, and a true detail here or there gives
the hero something plausible and character building to do
in coming scenes.

Not to mention, his seemingly pointless and illogical activities
are bound to annoy the heroine.

Research is on my mind partly because my "Research" for a desert
island survival romance was the topic of a radio interview I was
given yesterday.

Also, because I have suggested to the organizers of
next year's Romantic Times Convention that I'd like to put together a
workshop on "Research".

And finally, because I am about ready to get
into the Research phase of writing my next book.

Thank goodness for the internet! Imagine walking into a public
library, and asking the librarian to point me to the stacks dealing
with unauthorized exhumations, for example.

I'll leave you with that thought, pretty much.
I'd like to wish you all a prosperous and happy week.

I'll hope to blog on SUNDAYS in future,
in an effort to be more predictable.

Best wishes,

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