Monday, June 6, 2011

Nichole discusses research

I really enjoy research.

Don't laugh. I do. It doesn't matter what I'm searching for, I love the thrill of it. Whether it's hunting for treasures in the Black Hills National Forest (a hobby called geocaching) or searching for a long-lost relative as I trace the family tree (I love, the idea of researching energizes me.

There's a lot of research involved in my writing, as well. I spend a lot of time looking for the right murder method: poison, gun shot, stabbing. I visit the locations where my books are set. Of course, it helps that I live in the area.

I even research the paranormal aspects. For Sleeping Bears, the second Cerri Baker novel, I've read everything I could get my hands on about fairies. For my second series featuring Allison Webber (at least I think that's going to be her name) I've been studying up on auras.

Researching the paranormal is harder than researching genealogy. Finding a document from the 1860s usually leads you to another document. Finding a website or book about auras doesn't normally lead you anywhere else. And often the next book or site you find will give you different information.

That's where the fiction writer takes over for the researcher. It's the fiction writer in me that determines which information to incorporate and which to ignore. And which to totally change for the world I've created. It's not always easy.

Sometimes I find that what I want to happen flies in the face of all the research I've done. But this is fiction, and that's okay. It just means I have to make sure that the rules in my world are consistent, even if there's no one else who believes what I need.

Maybe that's what makes fiction so enjoyable for me to write: it's an opportunity to learn something but still make up my own rules.


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