Sunday, August 9, 2009

RESEARCH JUNKIE - WHEN IS ENOUGH, ENOUGH?

Posted by: Minnette Meador
Currently working on: Keenan's Dilemma, The Bell Stalker, Starsight III
Mood: Frenzied, Frustrated, and Fabulous… not necessarily in that order

Cave dwelling writers like myself get very few opportunities to stumble out into the world and have their own rollicking adventures. Most of my excitement happens between my ears. Though I loved doing research for general reasons, when I originally started writing historicals I dreaded the thought of slogging through ancient reference books, thousands upon thousands of Internet references, and dusty old museums. I wanted to just write. When one of those same old museums turned me onto a hunky martial artist who also happened to be a Roman scholar and specialized in choreographing battle scenes, I got hooked. This whole research thing started to satisfy a craving I didn’t know I had; I was an adrenalin… ehm, research junkie!


A couple of months ago, I was able to do an in-depth interview with a lieutenant from the Portland Police East Precinct and go for a ride along. It was an amazing experience and I filled pages of my novel with gusto. Then last week, to satisfy requirements for my newest project (or so I said), I interviewed one of the two lead detectives of the Homicide Division in Portland. OMG! I’m now scheduling another ride along… this time on a Friday or Saturday night. Like I said, research junkie.


All of that begs the question: When is enough, enough? How much research do you do? Do you feel you do too little or too much? What extent are you willing to go to “get the facts straight?”


For me personally, I always think truth is more bazaar than fiction. I won’t relate to you some of the stories the detective at Homicide told me. Suffice it to say that even in my wildest dreams… What these interviews do for me is give me a point of reference in reality, a flavor or voice I hadn’t even thought of before that lends credence to the story, even if I don’t use it all. After all, I do have a literary license to uphold. I could get kicked out of the bar if I don’t use it, right?


So my advice? Let yourself experience the world. Make a call. Send an email. Contact people in the world that do the things you write about. Reality, in my humble opinion, never ceases to amaze. From one research junkie to another. :o)

Minnette Meador
www.minnettemeador.com
http://minnettemeador.blogspot.com


3 comments:

Genene Valleau said...

Hey, Minnette!

I really enjoyed your blog posts about your interview with the detective at Homicide. Thank you for sharing that experience.

I do just the right amount of research, of course! Like you, I like to have enough information that my writing has the tone of reality. However, I've also learned that "reality" is sometimes too bizarre for fiction. So balance is the key for me!

therese said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
therese said...

It's so wonderful to return to the world of fiction, though I'm still getting smacked upside the head by memoir. Talk about research? Mine your whole life and what you thought was truth...

But you're SO RIGHT! Once you walk past the door of research and connect with the real, the world and ideas explode and adrenalin kicks butt! Fortunately I took that path a few years before having to deal with memoir-truths and research is way cool!

I'm not totally back in the world of fiction, so keep posting stuff to keep me motivated. You're an awesome writer!