The joys of research

For a writer, one of the most interesting and rewarding things (apart from a multi-million pound advance) is the variety and depth of research that they can do, legitimately.

A writer can research the types of and how to use certain chemical weapon or poisons, the various types of gun and all the variances of size, type and efficiency. The human body and the effectiveness of certain kill spots and all sorts of other things that may, for certain others, raise more than an eyebrow with friends and family, and lets not forget the authorities, who may take a great deal of interest……..

I remember when writing the early parts of my second (as yet unpublished) novel The Truth, I was messengering a friend of mine and we had been on for quite some time. (This was way before Skype) I checked the time and had to go, and I recall typing the following sentence

“I have to go now, I have a particularly gruesome murder to commit.”

All I got back was a “lol” and “good luck”, because she knew what I was up to, so I didn’t have to worry that the police would be kicking my door in ten minutes later.

One of the other real joys is when having researched a particular something, is to be able to use it in a constructive and subtle way in your writing. That gentle nuance, a subtle word or phrase can be all that is used for what may have taken hours or days to research. Brevity of use can be devastatingly effective, and conversely, over use or verbatim quoting of screeds and screeds of research can be very off putting to the reader.

I know of a major international best selling author who has sold many millions of books, had at least 3 of his books made into blockbuster movies who includes great long narratives of his research in his books. It is definitely a case of “I have spent time and money getting this information, you are going to get the lot, right here and right now.”

It is very off putting to the reader. I have counted 10 pages or more of long narrative passages with no dialogue or breaks at all, because he is putting his research in.

This shows that rules can be broken, but be very careful how and when you use our research. It is better for the writer to have a wry smile when that written passages hints at the work that has been done, but in such a way that it enhances and strengthens the writing.

Now, where was I? oh yes, waiting for the delivery man to arrive. I shall be ever watchful for who knows what little gems of personal traits, mannerisms and speech may come from this seemingly routine operation. It may just be the beginning of a brutal murder somewhere down the line…….. 


About purpleandrew

Andrew, recently diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome is a 54 year old former geologist always had short hair, suited & booted for work. That all changed when the credit crunch hit. Now a complimentary therapist, hospital radio presenter, and writer. Andrew writes crime thrillers, Young Adult, and fantasy books as well as blogging about writing and other stuff that he feels strongly about.
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