Last week, I briefly mentioned the new novel I am starting to plan. I described how it was going to be a fantasy, comedy, romance, satire, adventure, with a dash of crime and horror thrown in (if you’ll recall, the subject of last week’s post was how one genre is never enough for me).
So having got that out of my system, it’s time to get started. And how does any writer worth their salt get started? I can answer that question in one word: research.
This may sound a little odd. After all, am I not a writer of slightly odd comic fantasies? Is the focus of my writing not purely making stuff up? Why would someone with such a footloose and fancy free imagination ever need to do any proper research?
The answers to all of those questions is of course I need to do research. Maybe not the type of research done by more conventional writers. I’m not writing period romance so I don’t have to find out all about what life was like in Regency England or Wild West America or even Colonial Australia. I’m not writing procedural crime fiction so I don’t have to research the nitty gritty of police work or true crime stories.
But I like to think my stories are based on something. I like to have some kind of underpinning ideas or themes to give them depth and resonance. And for this, I definitely need to do research.
So what am I researching? Good question. Hopefully the answer will be good too.
In fact, there are two main areas I’m currently learning about:
I’ll bet that makes things sound even odder. Maybe you’d be right. I just find these two areas of study to be so interesting, and so fertile as sources for ideas and themes, particularly for satire and humour. In some ways, they actually go together – there’s a lot of psychology in economics (and maybe the reverse holds true too) and that’s a big focus of my reading. Hopefully, what I end up creating will allow me to create a new and distinct slant on both of these topics.
Oh, and before I forget, I should say that the story will involve some maritime adventure, so I’m also reading up about nautical terms. Gotta make my fantasy as realistic as possible.
Because all this making stuff up takes a lot of research.
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