I once dropped a watermelon out of a second story window in the name of research. With my husband armed with a video camera and two preschoolers hopping with excitement from the sidelines, I let it plummet to the driveway below. I wanted to see how far the pink flesh would scatter after it hit the pavement. I wanted to hear the splat, watch the rind split open and analyze the juice spray pattern from the impact. I sacrificed a perfectly good watermelon for the sake of gathering sensory details that would lend authenticity to a story I was writing at the time. It ranks in the top five of the most fun I’ve had while doing research. Continue reading
Tag Archives: research
I’m five days into one of the biggest personal challenges I’ve ever taken on as a writer. Like thousands of other writers across the globe this month, I’m attempting to write a 50,000-word manuscript in 30 days during National Novel Writing Month. To hit the target, I need to write 1,667 words a day. I’ve either met or come close to that goal all but one day. On Nov. 2, I only wrote about 400 words. I’d love to say that life got in the way that day. I had work to do, children to mother and other responsibilities that needed my attention. But the reality of the matter is I spent four hours working on my novel that day. So, what happened to result in such a low output? I got sucked down the research rabbit hole. Continue reading
If you’re a swimmer, you know you swim fly, back, breast and free in that order in the IM. If you know nothing about swimming, you are likely feeling like a foreigner in a country where everyone but you speaks the same language. It’s an uncomfortable, frustrating position to be in. Yet, every hobby and sport has its own lingo, just as every profession, including writing, does. I was reminded of this fact last week while talking with some writer friends. I used the acronym WIP during our conversation and one of the women interrupted me to ask what it meant. “Work in progress,” another answered. Since then, I’ve been thinking about how much there is to learn when it comes to writing terminology. Continue reading
I’ve heard of writers taking a reading day–a designated day where they just read. An idea I’ve grown rather fond of. So much so that I think I’ve spent more time reading than I have writing. My weekly reading day, has transpired into reading days, and very little writing is getting done.
I am certain that it is good to read books that will aid us in various areas of our writing, so as I continue to make my way through my reading goals for 2016, I am choosing to revert to my grad school days to make my reading meaningful and intentional. Rather than just reading for fun, I am now using this time to populate my books with notes on post-its of things the author is doing that will aid me as a writer. Be it story structure, an unorthodox way of solving a problem, a way of developing a character, etc. Continue reading
For our March “Learn to Write by Reading” challenge, we invited you to examine books in which the authors did a great job writing fight scenes.
Now, apply what you learned to your own manuscript. Make sure the tone of your fight scene matches the tone of your story. A slap-stick fight scene with witty dialogue and pratfalls may be perfect for a comedy, but totally out of place in a gritty drama.