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working writer wending her way through the labyrinth that is self-publishing

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The importance of research

A writing friend mentioned to me how important proper research is to the process of writing a novel--this is SO true! In my first three books, Wolfmoon series, I did oodles of research on herbalism, wolf behavior, Celtic myth, gods and goddesses, trees and what they can be used for, how to make matches, Scottish slang and sayings, etc...etc... I rarely have a day when I am not consulting the Internet for info on something! How wonderful to have a library at ones fingertips!

Second series, Gypsy, found me looking up Norse myth and worlds and their significance, Norse gods and goddesses, satyrs, Beserkers, the finer points of sailing, Norse holidays in olden days and what they consisted of, more herbs and their lesser known uses, time travel lore, nuclear disasters, etc... And don't forget to call on your friends who might know things that you do not. My brother, a sailor, helped me immensely when I was writing the Gypsy books.

Coyote series took me into Native American myth, the Navajo culture, coyote behavior, native ceremonies...My Witch series led me back in time to Salem of 1693 and what happened there with the hanging of witches. I read about the Pilgrims and the Puritans and the differences between the two, (didn't we learn this in grammar school?), the people who were involved in the witch trials and their roles, and every single person who was hung that year, as well as the Wampanoag culture and the role they played at that time. It paid off, since A Witch in Time Saves Nine, received an honorable mention in the New England Book Festival!

I've learned so much over the course of writing seventeen books, a lot of of it in one ear and out the other, but some of it has stuck. For instance I now know how to start a fire in the wilderness without benefit of matches or even a mirror! (not sure I could actually manage it) I know what an AGA is. I understand Cenotes and their spiritual significance. I know the meaning of Berserker. But, the research I've done for my ghost murder mysteries has been harder for me. For one, I am not a person who knows much about police procedure and there isn't much on the Internet about it--at least it's been hard for me to discover. (And it is not a subject that interests me!) I sought out a retired cop for help on one book--he was invaluable and I dedicated the book to him. I'm lucky, since my ghost murder mystery/romances are really NOT about that aspect--they are more about relationship, and ghosts, with some police procedure thrown in for good measure. And how do you research ghosts? I have to admit my heart lies in the fantasy realm where I can draw on my very active imagination--😈

My latest book, (second in witch series)The Moon in Her Eyes, is taking me to Luxembourg, a place I've never been...(a beautiful place, by the way) It has also placed me within the anomalies of time travel--I've been fudging it a bit, trying to work out what might happen if...and of course more research on the Wampanoag and their various evil and good spirits. I actually love the research part of writing, although I have to admit that sometimes it can get a bit tedious...

So in summing up, do your research, because without it a story won't have the believability it might otherwise. And whatever you do, keep on writing!

Thanks for reading!

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