Monday, September 28, 2009

How to Research a Story


As a writer one of the most popular questions I get asked is, “Where do you get your ideas?”
It’s a hard one because the truth is, I never get my ideas from the same place, the same person or at the same time of day. It’s completely random. It’s almost like I’m unconsciously researching all the time. I’ve got a gremlin sitting in the back of my head, taking notes on all the funny little things that happen in my life. Usually because it’s from these funny inconsequential events that the beginnings of a story stems.


This month, I spent a glorious seven day holiday in the Wine region of Western Australia. My family and I stayed in a little place called Yallingup. I took some photos of some Kangaroos in the area which I have included with this post. It’s the end of winter and everything is so green, lush and wet. I love it.


While I was out on a picnic with my family, surrounded by vineyards, blue skies and the ocean on the horizon, I thought to myself, what a fantastic place to get married. And of course, to get married, you need to meet someone, fall in love and have the delicious agony of not knowing if they feel the same way. The beginnings of an idea started to form in my head.


I discussed the plot with my husband who immediately jumped on my band wagon. In his expert opinion, if I was going to set a book in the south west, and particularly if it was going to involve a wedding, we had to get cracking on the food and wine tasting. After all, I couldn’t just hold a reception anywhere. It had to be the best, most beautiful, most clever winery in the region and he was just the man to figure out which one it was. Under no circumstances, was I to hold back on the research aspect of this story. He would have me know, that he was behind me - 100%!

My husband has always been very supportive of my writing. He is a darling in many respects. But for some reason in this case, I suspected him of a hidden agenda. When taxed with my concerns however, he merely waved them away and said, “Never mind about that. What do you think about setting a sequel on the Greek Islands?”

7 comments:

Sandy Cody said...

Wonderful! I agree completely about the mysterious way ideas appear.

How nice to have a spouse who is truly supportive - and likes the Greek Islands. I can't wait to read THAT book. Nice photo by the way.

Edna said...

that would be what I would ask, where do you get all the ideas for all the books you write, I am not a writter but I don't believe I could come up with enought ideas to write one book.
May God bless


mamat2730(at)charter(dot)net

Elisabeth Rose said...

I find it's not so much coming up with the ideas it's as Edna says, it's after that-- filling a whole book.

A good idea might only give you a couple of easy pages then . . . nothing.

Beate Boeker said...

I had to grin when I read about the "hidden agenda" - and how right your are - life with its little snippets of craziness gives all the ideas, and then . . . the real work starts!

Carolyn said...

For me, the ideas flow easily. The beginning and end of a story are always on my mind, but then, it's filling in the middle. Not so easy!

When I first became a writer, it was drummed into my head about using only those scenes that moved the story forward. Sure, but sometimes it's difficult deciding which way you want the story to go, or those times when you haven't really thought it through clearly enough. I guess that's what editing is for, huh? :-) I especially like those days when I don't have to stop and think because the words just flow. Maybe today will be one of those days.

mulligangirl said...

This is great, Loretta! Research. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. You've inspired me. I’m thinking Tahiti for my next novel…

Jane Myers Perrine said...

I love your husband! All my books are set in Texas where we live. I'll have to think of settings that are more fun for the husband of the writer.

Jane Myers Perrine