Saturday, January 19, 2008

Feeling Groovy

That is right -- I am feeling groovy.

Let me share a little background. You know I'm going to anyway -- might as well get comfy. Go grab a soda; I'll wait.

As a writer who uses world history as her main storyline, I spend a lot of time researching. My basic writing method goes something like this:

1. I get an idea for a story I want to tell. Sometimes it's from reading a book, seeing a movie, overhearing a conversation -- whatever the source, I get an idea.

2. I start learning all I can about that era. I watch movies, I watch documentaries, I read books (fiction and nonfiction both) I search the Internet, I talk to people who know about that era. I take notes the whole way through. Usually during this stage I start to visualize where my characters will be when each thing happens.

3. I type up all my notes and I make a timeline of what happened when so I can make sure my characters get where they're supposed to get on time.

4. Then I start writing the book, referring to the timeline, pausing to verify what happened at certain key times, double checking dates and locations. After the book is done I have to check that all again.

It's a long process. It's a lot of hard work. It takes time and concentration and study. But don't get me wrong -- I love it. I love learning the things I do and digging out details and creating them into a story. But the research can be very hard. Reading about the attack on Pearl Harbor and then the bombing of Hiroshima was very hard on me. Learning about the Holocaust and the concentration camps made me feel gray inside for months. It's a hard thing, emotionally, to do.

Okay, enough of the background.

I'm doing a Book in a Month challenge over on my other blog and my project is a contemporary comedic mystery. Today I had one of the most productive days of my life and wrote 4,940 words -- not all in one sitting, but on and off throughout the day. Believe it or not, I even turned the computer off for part of the afternoon. I know -- don't go into shock on me here.

This story is just really flowing for me. I haven't had to stop to refer to a timeline once, or think about phrases, or historical feasibility, or any of it -- I'm just writing a story, and I can't tell you how liberating it feels. I never will stop writing historical fiction -- I love it too much -- but this vacation from the research and the checking and fact finding is turning out to be so good for me. Instead of proofreading for dates and places, I'm just going to be looking for plot holes, punctuation, and flow. Instead of making sure that car really was invented back then, I'll just be making sure my dialogue works. Wow -- I truly do feel like I'm having a vacation for my brain. It's still work, but it's so different, I'm utilizing other thought processes and giving my research ones a break. It definitely feels groovy.

10 comments:

mindyluwho said...

I don't understand anything about writing stories as it's not my cup of tea, but I sure love reading a good one! Glad it's flowing for you!

Anne Bradshaw said...

That's fantastic, Tristi! Groove away. Writing is so liberating.

Luisa Perkins said...

Congratulations on the groove! It's a great feeling. Here's hoping it continues for you.

Kimberly said...

Yay for feeling groovy! Love those days! Err...wait...I'm pausing to ask myself if I've had one yet...hmm...

* wallflower * said...

Wow -- kudos on your huge word count! Keep on groovin' that groove thing. :^)

Shanna Blythe said...

Tristi,
Sounds like a lot of fun. Congrats on the flow. That is so great!

Rebecca Talley said...

I love it when I feel groovy. Glad you got your groove!

Jen said...

I have heard that studying the holocaust diligently for 6 months is a recipe for depression. *hugs*

How very interesting to learn about your writing process.

carrie & troy keiser said...

:) You are a writer! I enjoy your blog!

Marta O. Smith said...

I have always believed you could be a great comedic writer. I look forward to reading your comedic mystery series.

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