BLOGWORDS – Friday 8 July 2016 – WHEN RESEARCH TAKES YOU ON AN UNEXPECTED PATH
WHEN RESEARCH TAKES YOU ON AN UNEXPECTED PATH
Once upon a time, before I was writing seriously, I attended college, studying Interior Design. By my senior year, I knew what my capstone design project would be—an elementary school of the arts. It’s not so far-fetched as it may sound; there is an Elementary School of Engineering here in Greenville! So with my passion for all things art, and every discipline, I figured I would design a school of the arts!
And I did.
My intent was to focus on the theatre, a great passion of mine, and an art studio, with a nod to actual classroom space. I mean it’s a school, the classroom is a given, right?
As I began my research, however, I began to realize the scope of designing just the theatre! I had a decision to make—change the direction of my original intent and design a theatre, no school. Or focus on some other aspect of the school.
Part of our assignment as students was special topics that applied to our chosen design, in my case elementary schools. I was intrigued by two topics in particular: daylight in the classroom, and interactive / collaborative teaching. I changed the emphasis of my design and created a classroom with a nod to the disciplines of the arts.
I was still designing a school but
my research had redirected my goal and end result.
The same thing happens in writing. Sometimes they are “rabbit trails” that we end up having to back track. Sometimes those new “trails” lead us to new insights into our story or our characters.
Aside from accuracy, especially historical factoids, good research can trigger new angles or even subplots. Case in point (and a great nod to the value of reading and following other bloggers!) I read a blog post last week about siblings of abuse victims.
Although my main character, Cissy, is not abused physically, she is tormented by words spoken about her at an early age. After reading the blog post, i.e. research, I knew I needed to address her twin sister, Clara’s, psyche as regards Cissy’s behavior. And it has added an element of depth to my story.
Even choosing pictures for this blog post, or any post, is a matter of (re)searching for just the right image that conveys just the right sentiment. The journal, for instance, could not be a spiral notebook, nor could it be bound with elastic; my story setting is post Civil War era. But that’s next week’s topic, historical accuracy.
What about you? What are some fun discoveries you’ve made in your research? What’s the most fun rabbit trail you’ve wandered down?
“I once said I should write down all the story ideas in my head so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!”
Ms. Mason has been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on her debut novel, Tessa in 2013. Meanwhile, she cranked out a few dozen poems, and made countless notes for story ideas. Ms. Mason lived with depression for many years, and the inherent feelings of worthlessness and invisibility; she didn’t want to be who she was and struggled with her own identity for many years. Her characters face many of these same demons.
Ms. Mason has lived in the Upstate of South Carolina since 1988. She lived in Colorado for sixteen years, during which time she: went to high school, got married, had babies, got divorced and went to college. Her “babies” are now grown, two have babies of their own. She currently lives alone, with her five cats.
Ms. Mason writes Christian-worldview–in other words, there’s no salvation message, but there are plenty of characters who know the Lord and share His perspective with those who are struggling.
Tessa and Clara Bess, books 1 and 2 in her unsavory heritage series, are both available on Amazon, both for Kindle and in print. The third book in the series, Cissy, will be available in September, 2016. Ms. Mason also has several poems included in an anthology, Where Dreams and Visions Live (Anthologies of the Heart Book 1) by Mary Blowers, http://maryblowers.com, as well as a short story, Sarafina’s Light, also in an anthology, Blood Moon, compiled by Mary Blowers. She will also be working on a personal anthology of poetry to be released in 2016 as well.
Blogwords, Stories by Design, Research, When Research Takes You on an Unexpected Path, Interior Design, Capstone Project, Rabbit Trails, Psychology, Reading Other Blogs, Writers Helping Writers