January 20th, 2007


The Truth about Research

re-search n. to travel through
I’ve dreaded dipping into the deep well of research for my new book project; it’s been years since I’ve been a proper student and most of my recent manuscripts are about the length of your average footnote.
But I’ve literally been dreaming this story, so I had no choice but to jump in.
Well. Lemme tell ya. I took the leap, and I didn’t drown. I didn’t even choke. It’s… refreshing!
Yesterday morning I mailed a revision of one of my picture books to a waiting editor (I like to think she checks her mail for it daily), and then ensconced myself at Austin Java with my laptop and a cup of decaf. I hooked into their wireless, started swimming and didn’t come up for air ‘til noon.
You would not believe the discoveries I stumbled upon. Everything from a new surname for my protagonist to the exact date of the most pivotal plot peak in the piece. I even hit upon a working title!
And here’s what felt most titillating to me. I set out with expectations of dry, grueling, academic research and instead I find myself on a journey during which “all will be revealed.” That may sound a little woo-woo to you, but honestly it’s as if I’m discovering the truth of the story rather than figuring out reasonable details to make up.
And isn’t that the kind of book we love – one that feels true, through and through – regardless of how preposterously fictitious it may be? If I can hang onto that sense as I move forward, I just may have a crack at writing the kind of book I’d like to read.